NSFA, Panacan, Davao City – Series of surrenders were recorded by the Eastern Mindanao Command (Eastmincom) over the month of August as the crackdown on Communist Terrorist Group (CTG) in Eastern Mindanao continues to break down its remaining strongholds.
Members of the Communist Terrorist Group (CTG) and Militia ng Bayan (MB), which totaled 297 individuals, were cut anew from the dwindling CTG as they deserted the terror group following the intensified Focused Military Operations (FMOs) conducted by Eastmincom’s units in their respective areas of responsibility.
Eleven (11) Communist NPA Terrorists and four (4) Militia ng Bayan members led by a certain alias Joe who belong to a Communist Terrorist Group operating in Cabanglasan, Bukidnon surrendered to the 88th Infantry Battalion on August 14, 2020, under the Joint Task Force Diamond in Maramag town.
The surrenderees revealed that they were involved in the recent skirmishes against government forces in Cabanglasan for the past weeks that resulted in a series of losses and debacles to their group.
Alias Joe also told the 88th Infantry Battalion during an interview that hunger and fear for their lives were just among the few reasons that pushed them to surrender after seeing many of their colleagues died during the series of encounters.
The surrenderees also yielded fifteen (15) various firearms composed of one (1) M16A1, two (2) Garand Rifles, four (4) Carbine M1 Rifles, six (6) Homemade Shotguns, one (1) Homemade Revolver, and one (1) Caliber 45 pistol.
The Community Support Program (CSP) efforts of the 36th Infantry Battalion and Former Rebels (FRs) in Brgy. Buntalid and Brgy. Tigabong in Cantilan, Surigao del Sur also led to the surrender of seventeen (17) Communist NPA Terrorist members and mass supporters on August 19, 2020 in Brgy. San Juan, Madrid.
The Communist NPA Terrorist deserters composed of four (4) regulars and thirteen (13) Underground Mass Organization (UGMO) members divulged that they decided to surrender because of the difficulties that they have experienced in the hands of the Communist Terrorist Group. The CTG’s failed promises and ideologies further drove the FRs to abandon the armed struggle after seeing the sincere gesture of the government in addressing the issues and delivering public services to the communities, especially the marginalized sector, through the Community Support Program (CSP).
An exodus of surrender was likewise recorded in August in the area of the 402nd Infantry Brigade after 174 Communist NPA Terrorists, Militia ng Bayan members, and mass supporters yielded to government troops in two separate events on August 20, 2020, as a result of the collaboration between 402nd Brigade’s CSP Team and the PNP’s Community Action Team (ComACT).
In Agusan del Sur, seven (7) Communist NPA Terrorists and 17 Militia ng Bayan members pledged new allegiance to the government through the 26th Infantry Battalion during a ceremony in Brgy. Zamora, Talacogon, Agusan del Sur. The surrenderees also brought along with them 23 assorted firearms.
Twenty-four (24) MB members and 126 mass supporters also simultaneously yielded to the 23rd Infantry Battalion through a ceremonial mass surrender at Sitio Macopa, Brgy. Poblacion, Agusan del Norte. The surrenderees voluntarily endorsed to authorities their 15 assorted firearms and several explosive materials and ammunitions.
A CNT couple identified as alias Milan and alias Cris, together with alias JR, another NPA member, also returned to the folds of the law over the previous month out of fear for the future of their family while being with the Communist Terrorist Group.
During their surrender to the 29th Infantry Battalion on August 14, 2020, in Kitcharao, Agusan del Norte, the former rebels yielded one (1) Caliber 5.56mm Bushmaster rifle with one plastic and four short loaded magazines, one (1) AK47 rifle with four loaded magazines, and one (1) Improvised Explosive Device (IED).
A high-ranking CNT identified as Alias Ading, who had served the CTG for five (5) years, also surrendered to the 25th Infantry Battalion on Saturday, August 22, 2020, in Monkayo, Davao de Oro.
Alias Ading revealed that he was deceived to join the CTG since he was only 16 years old which is a clear violation of the provision of the International Humanitarian Law which prohibits any armed group from recruiting a minor.
The 21-year old surrenderee also brought along with him one (1) M16 rifle, one (1) M653 rifle, and six (6) magazines with fifty-eight (58) ammunitions which he yielded to the troops.
Four (4) CNTs operating in Davao Oriental have also responded to the call of the government to abandon the armed struggle and its useless cause when they surrendered to the 701st Infantry Brigade on August 18, 2020. They also handed-over to the unit one (1) Cal .60 LMG with one hundred fifty (150) rounds of 7.62mm (linked) ammunitions during their surrender.
On August 15, 2020, three (3) Militia ng Bayan members of a CTG operating in the area of Kibawe, Bukidnon likewise surrendered through the effort of CSP operators of the 16th Infantry Battalion. The surrenderees brought along with them one (1) Springfield US 1917 Model and two (2) homemade shotguns with magazine and live ammunitions.
The series of surrenders in Eastern Mindanao generally resulted in the recovery of 29 high-powered and 51 low-powered firearms, and three (3) IEDs.
Meanwhile, Lt. Gen. Jose C. Faustino Jr, Commander of Eastern Mindanao Command, pointed out that the series of surrender is a result of the former rebels’ loss of trust on the Communist Terrorist Group.
“This phenomenon proves that the CNT members are finally losing their trust on the Communist Terrorist Group in Eastern Mindanao as its pseudo-government proved to be a failure, particularly in delivering its promises both to its members and influenced communities while using them as a sacrificial lamb for their atrocities,” he said.
The Commander also called on the remaining CTG in Eastern Mindanao to surrender and avail the assistance being offered by the government through the Enhance Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) to help them build a new and normal life with their families.
“To those who have already seen the hard reality in the terrorist group, this is the time for you to surrender. Heed the call of the government and abandon the armed struggle. You can assure that the government will support you in building a new life with your families,” Lt. Gen. Faustino added.