CAMP CAPINPIN, Tanay, Rizal – Forty NPA terrorists decided to surrender and formally turned their backs from the underground movement after localized peace negotiations in Region 4A ended successfully on Saturday.

The mass surrender came a day before the communist terrorist group’s 51st Founding Anniversary.

According to Colonel Alex Rillera, Commander of the 202nd Infantry Brigade which has operational jurisdiction over CALABARZON, the former rebels turned-over 14 firearms to military and police commanders during a ceremony at Camp Vicente Lim in Calamba, Laguna this morning.

He said that the former rebels belonging to the NPA’s Guerilla Front Cesar which operates in the boundaries of Quezon, Rizal and Laguna provinces “will undergo debriefing and profiling as part of the enrollment process to the government’s Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program or E-CLIP.”

Col Rillera added that the mass surrender “validated our assessment that the NPA’s mass base support in this part of the country is now fast-eroding and losing traction due to demoralization from our massive intelligence-driven combat operations, before the ceasefire was declared, complemented by our unrelenting push for localized peace talks thereby slowly but surely dismantling the remaining communist machinery in the region.”

“The inclusion of regular members and labor organizers in this mass exodus of NPA terrorists from the underground movement is a decisive blow since aside from losing leaders, their surrender meant lesser tacticians to launch atrocities and fewer cadres who oversee their supply line from the urban centers to the hinterlands”, ended Col Rillera.

Military records show that 45 NPA regulars and supporters turned over 25 firearms during last year’s 50th Anniversary celebration of the communist terrorists and were presented on April 1 which soldiers and police called “April Fool’s Joke”. Thirteen of those surrenders received Php688,000-worth of firearms remuneration last week at Cavinti, Laguna.

Major General Arnulfo Marcelo Burgos Jr, Commander of the Philippine Army’s 2nd Infantry Division, attributed the unwavering commitment of CALABARZON’s Regional Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict or RTF ELCAC to the people’s quest for peace and national healing even during these extraordinary times.

He lauded the “soldiers, policemen and government officials who were involved in this localized peace talks for their commitment and dedication to their duties while fighting in two fronts” from which, according to Maj Gen Burgos, he is “confident that the Filipino, at the end of the day, will emerge victorious as one, united and free nation.”

He said that “the headways which we are gaining in our fight against insurgency is a testament to our people’s yearning and aspirations for peace, prosperity and development which shall overcome gargantuan challenges, including the threat of this global pandemic.”

Maj Gen Burgos ended his statement by calling on the few remaining NPA terrorists to “put down your arms, give up your armed struggle and return to mainstream society while you still can because after this contagion, we shall muster all our strength and focus our sights to the liberation of Southern Tagalog from the clutches of communist terrorism by defeating the few remaining NPAs in this part of the country.”

Since the implementation of E-CLIP in Southern Tagalog, 509 former rebels surrendered 108 firearms to government forces.

As of this report, CALABARZON region and MIMARO provinces have already distributed a total of Php 10.478 million-worth of financial assistance to former rebels.