MANILA – Around 47 members and supporters of the New People’s Army (NPA) voluntarily surrendered earlier this month due to severe pressure from military operations and the hardships of always being on the run.
In a statement Sunday, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) public affairs office chief Navy Capt. Jonathan Zata said the Northern Luzon Command (Nolcom) recorded the highest number of surrendered NPA members and supporters at 33.
On June 4, 21 members of the NPA’s so-called “underground mass organizations” withdrew from the communist terrorist group with the help of the 91st Infantry Battalion in Dingalan, Aurora while seven NPA members yielded to government forces in Guimba, Nueva Ecija on June 2.
Nolcom also reported the surrender of five other rebels on separate occasions in the provinces of Isabela, Tarlac, and Ilocos Sur on June 1.
Meanwhile, a total of seven NPA members surrendered to the Eastern Mindanao Command (Eastmincom).
Of this number, five surrendered on June 3 in Surigao del Sur, Agusan del Norte, Davao de Oro, and Davao del Norte while two others voluntarily turned themselves in to government forces in Mawab, Davao de Oro on June 1 and Malaybalay City, Bukidnon on June 2.
On June 2, five communist rebels surrendered to government forces in Mulanay, Quezon under the Southern Luzon Command (Solcom) while two more NPA members yielded to the 46th Infantry Battalion in Calbiga, Samar on June 3.
Zata added that intensified internal security operations also resulted in the death of one NPA member and apprehension of five others from June 1 to 5.
On June 4, Solcom forces figured in an encounter with 10 communist terrorists in Baco, Oriental Mindoro area which resulted in one death from the rebels’ side.
They also seized one .45-caliber pistol with a magazine loaded with six rounds of ammunition, one improvised explosive device (IED), one Garmin GPS, 13 cellphones with 17 assorted batteries and three chargers, subversive documents, and assorted medical supplies.
Meanwhile, Central Command troops apprehended three NPAs which accounted for the recovery of one .45-caliber pistol, two IEDs, cellular phone, PHP25,000 cash, and subversive documents in Las Navas, Northern Samar on June 1.
On June 2, the 36th Infantry Battalion in Eastmincom apprehended two personalities believed to be NPA members and confiscated one hand grenade, one motorized tricycle, and PHP10,550 cash in Cantilan, Surigao del Sur.
“The unwavering commitment of our troops to their sworn duty under NTF ELCAC (National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict) with the active support of local government units proved to be successful in securing our nation’s safety against the threat of communist terrorism amid the current national health crisis,” said AFP chief-of-staff General Felimon T. Santos Jr.
He added the AFP will remain steadfast in its efforts to contain and eventually eliminate the dangers posed by the communist terrorist group.
“We will continue to fight in the frontlines against the global pandemic while strengthening our post in the battlefront,” Santos said.
The NPA, the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines, is listed as a terrorist organization by the United Kingdom, the European Union, United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the Philippines. (PNA)