Six more communist rebels surrendered on August 2 to the military in Zamboanga del Sur, weeks after the province declared the Communist NPA Terrorist Group as persona non grata.
“They were led by Ka Diego, who operated in the hinterlands of Barangay Lison Valley and has been with the communist group for three years. The rest have been members of the group for at least three months,” said Lt. Col. Marlowe Patria, 53rd Infantry Battalion Commander.
The rebels also yielded four handguns and ammunition.
They also pledged their sincerity before Zamboanga del Sur Governor Victor Yu, Congresswoman 1st District Divina Grace Yu, Congressman 2nd District Leonardo Babasa, and Board Member John Regala.
“Insurgency is one factor that deters the development of the province. We need peace, and that is why I am happy to see them (former rebels). Later, they will realize that our government is looking after their welfare, especially that President Duterte wants to eradicate insurgency,” said Yu.
Brig. Gen. Bagnus Gaerlan, Jr., 102nd Infantry Brigade Commander, said, “We are gaining grounds, and our relentless military operation in the province pressured rebels to surrender.”
On July 18, local leaders in Zamboanga del Sur issued Resolution No. 035-2019, declaring the CNT as persona non-grata. The provincial government further vowed to support security forces in their campaign “to deter any acts of terrorism and insurgency in the province.”
“More rebels are now contemplating to lay down their arms in light of the government’s commitment and the community’s active involvement in peaceful mechanisms to end local communist armed conflict in the area,” said Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, commander of Western Mindanao Command.
“Hitherto, we work hand in hand with our partners and sustain our focused military operations against communist rebels in Mindanao,” he added.