MANILA – Intensified operations by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has resulted in the voluntary surrender of 313 New People’s Army (NPA) members and supporters from June 6 to 12.
In a statement Sunday, AFP public affairs office chief, Navy Captain Jonathan Zata, said the Northern Luzon Command area posted the highest number of surrendered regular rebels, supporters, and members of NPA-organized mass organizations who withdrew membership and support from communist rebel units in Tarlac, Nueva Ecija, and Aurora during the period.
On Independence Day, the AFP, in cooperation with the local government of Tarlac, facilitated the withdrawal of support by 100 members of Ambala, also known as the “Alyansa ng Manggagawang Bukid sa Hacienda Luisita”, from the communist terrorist group.
Zata said these individuals also joined 41 other members of Ambala who also denounced the NPA on June 6.
Meanwhile, the 7th Infantry Division, which covers the area of Tarlac, described Ambala as a group organized by the NPA to exploit farmers and agrarian reform issues in the area and has recruited members from 11 different barangays in Hacienda Luisita.
“The AFP also facilitated the withdrawal of support of a total of 132 members of a similar organization in Barangays Bacayao and Manggang Marikit in Guimba, Nueva Ecija on June 7 and 8 respectively,” Zata added.
On June 8, four members of another farmers group based in Aurora returned to the fold of the law and withdrew their support from the NPA in a ceremony held at Barangay Calabuanan in the town of Baler.
Meanwhile, 14 communist NPA terrorists (CNTs) surfaced and surrendered to joint elements of AFP and Philippine National Police (PNP) in Sta. Rosa, Laguna the under Southern Luzon Command (Solcom) on June 11.
Confiscated from these individuals were a shotgun, .45-caliber pistol, and four .38-caliber revolvers.
Solcom also recorded the surrender of 12 other rebels in Quezon and Laguna on June 7 and 11, respectively.
In Eastern Mindanao Command (Eastmincom), four “Milisya ng Bayan” members presented themselves to joint elements of 73rd Infantry Battalion and PNP in Davao Occidental on June 6.
On the same day, two CNTs also surrendered with their firearms to government forces in Agusan Del Norte and Agusan Del Sur.
Meanwhile, two former NPAs returned to the folds of the law in Tago, Surigao Del Sur on June 7 and 9.
On June 7 and 12, the Western Mindanao Command and Central Command recorded two NPAs who surrendered in Zamboanga del Norte and Northern Samar.
Meanwhile, after a series of intense encounters, apprehensions, and voluntary submissions resulted in the overall seizure of 38 assorted firearms, seven improvised explosive devices (IEDs), and 51 rounds of ammunition for the said period.
The most notable of which came from a 20-minute firefight between the 3rd Infantry Division and 10 NPAs in Igbaras, Iloilo on June 6.
The encounter resulted in the seizure of one M-16 rifle, two rounds of M-203 GL ammunition, one bandolier, three M-16 magazines with 17 rounds of ammunition, an NPA flag, one jungle pack, assorted propaganda materials, and personal belongings.
“We congratulate our troops on the group for these remarkable achievements. The commemoration of our nation’s Independence Day was made more hopeful with these victories in our communities,” AFP chief-of-staff Gen. Felimon Santos Jr. said.
He added that every Filipino can rest assured that the AFP is dedicated to securing the nation’s freedom and in liberating exploited masses from the influence of the communist terrorist group.
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, the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the Philippines. (PNA)