CAMP SIONGCO, Maguindanao –Sixteen members of the New People’s Army (Army) have surrendered to the military yesterday morning (February 6) in a ceremony at Municipal Hall of Palimbang in Sultan Kudarat.
The former rebels were convinced to surrender through the efforts of the 37th Infantry Battalion under 603rd Infantry Brigade as part of the unit’s intensified counter-insurgency program in partnership with the concerned local government unit.
During the program hosted by the local government of Palimbang, the rebels laid down their 6 firearms, namely: one caliber 7.62mm rifle, one caliber
.30 Garand M1 rifle, two caliber .45 pistol, one 9mm pistol and one caliber .38 revolver.
The former rebels were members of Sub-Regional Command-Daguma of Far South Mindanao Region (FSMR).
According to Palimbang Mayor Hon Joenime Kapina, the surrender of the NPA rebels will contribute to the peace efforts of their municipality.
He encouraged the former rebels to convince their former comrades to return to the government fold to live peacefully and enjoy the livelihood benefits provided by the local government of Palimbang.
The firearms were received by Mayor Kapina, 603rd Deputy Brigade Commander Col. Jovencio F. Gonzales, and 37th Infantry Battalion Commanding Officer Lt. Col. Roberto C. Go.
One of the surrenderers said that they experienced hardships in the mountains trying to evade the military troops. They also said that they are willing to cooperate with the government and avail of the programs former rebels and become part of the development plans of the LGU.
Joint Task Force Central Commander Maj. Gen. Diosdado C. Carreon congratulated 37th IB for their efforts that led to the latest surrender of NPA members.
The Commander also vowed that the JTFC troops will ensure their safety in case their former comrades will retaliate against them.