The M16 rifle, magazines, and ammunition turned over by one of the surrenderees. Soldiers are still locating the armaments of the others.

CAMP CAPINPIN, Tanay, Rizal — Four more NPAs, one of them a 15-year-old girl, turned their backs from the communist’s underground movement on Wednesday following simultaneous local peace negotiations in Quezon Province.

Government negotiators received an M16 rifle, magazines and ammunition from one of the surrenderees while soldiers are still locating the armaments of the others which were hidden in pre-designated cache.

Colonel Alex Rillera, Commander of the 202nd Infantry Brigade, said that one of the former rebels is a female political guide of the Southern Tagalog Regional Party Committee’s Main Regional Guerilla Unit whom he identified as Michelle Caparas alias Honey.

“The fact that a member of MRGU, or the NPA’s main fighting unit, gave up her firearm supports our previous statements that the NPA terrorists have already reached the point of their irreversible defeat brought about by their waning relevance and fast eroding mass base support,” said Col Rillera.

According to the military, 30 minutes after alias Honey surfaced in Brgy Cagsiay 3 of Mauban town, a certain Rolando Ursolino alias Rene decided to surrender at around 9 a.m. at Brgy Lual Barrio of the same municipality.

Col Rillera added that initial debriefing of the former rebels indicates that “the enemies’ morale are already low due to leadership vacuum brought about by neutralization of their key leaders and demoralization due to internal squabbles and abuses within the underground movement.”

He also reported that two more NPAs who used to operate in the boundaries of Rizal, Bulacan and Quezon surrendered to his soldiers on Wednesday. One of them was a 15-year-old female belonging to the indigenous tribe of Dumagat.

The military identified the child-warrior as alias Ana whose true identity is being withheld because of her being a minor. The other surrenderee was identified as Alvin Molina alias Jack. Both of them are members of the NPA’s Platoon 4A4 under Guerilla Front Cesar.

“Your soldiers will be unrelenting until genuine peace is won and prosperity has become our people’s way of life,” stressed Col Rillera.

Major General Arnulfo Marcelo Burgos Jr, Commander of the Philippine Army’s 2nd Infantry Division which covers Southern Tagalog, described the series of renunciations within his jurisdiction as a “result of the collective efforts of the national and local governments and agencies whose dedication and commitment to end local communist armed conflict is slowly turning President Duterte’s vision of an insurgency-free Philippines into reality.”

He added that the surrender was the third time in five days wherein the government welcomed eight former rebels to mainstream society.

When asked to address the few remaining NPA terrorists  in Southern Tagalog, Maj Gen Burgos said that “our forces will not pause, the PNP will never waver, the civilian agencies will be more responsive and the LGUs will be more aggressive in operationalizing Task Force ELCAC, thus, I assure you that the end is near for you and your terroristic actions.”

Maj Gen Burgos has earlier indicated that additional ground, air and naval assets have been deployed in his area of operations as part of the military’s final push to decimate the NPA terrorists who have suffered unprecedented losses in Southern Tagalog in recent history.

This series of surrenders has raised to 572 the number of former rebels from the area of 2ID since the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program was implemented in 2016.

The former rebels will undergo E-CLIP’s enrolment process from which they can avail up to Php 700,000 worth of government grants. (PNA)