Nineteen more members of the New People’s Army surrendered to government forces in Sultan Kudarat on the day of the communist group’s founding anniversary, March 29, 2019.
The communist terrorists yielded to the local government of Sultan Kudarat, the Sultan Kudarat Provincial Police Office, and the 33rd Infantry and 39th Infantry Battalions.
The former rebels also laid down 13 high-powered firearms, explosives, and ammunition.
They belong to different communist fronts operating in the provinces of Cotabato, Davao del Sur, Sultan Kudarat, and South Cotabato.
“Their surrender on the very day of the NPA’s supposed founding anniversary is a very clear indication that its ranks continue to decline due to the relentless efforts of the troops on the ground to hunt them down while providing space for them to peacefully surrender,” said Colonel Efren Baluyot, 1st Mechanized Infantry Brigade Commander.
Major General Cirilito Sobejana, Joint Task Force Central Commander, lauded this recent accomplishment.
“The surrender of these communist terrorists shows that the localized peace negotiations, led by the provincial government of Sultan Kudarat, are very effective. This is also a clear manifestation that those who were duped by the NPA in joining their ranks have realized that the government cares for them and that they are welcome to join the peace-loving people of Sultan Kudarat,” said Sobejana.
The returnees will receive livelihood assistance, payment for the surrendered firearms, as well as housing, through the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program.
The program is under the supervision of Sultan Kudarat Province under Governor Pax Mangudadatu.
Lieutenant General Arnel Dela Vega, Western Mindanao Command chief, said, “We support all peaceful mechanisms that bridge synergy and that build hopes for our brothers and sisters, who were deceived by communist terrorists, to rebuild their lives.”
“We sustain all efforts and work with our peace partners to address insurgency and to encourage remaining rebels to surrender and trust the government,” he added.