CAMP CAPINPIN, Tanay, Rizal — Three NPA terrorists voluntarily surrendered to government forces after two separate local peace negotiations in different areas across Southern Tagalog were concluded Friday.

The localized peace talks were held in the municipalities of Macalelon, Quezon and Sablayan, Occidental Mindoro.

Brigadier General Norwyn Romeo Tolentino, Commander of the 201st Infantry Brigade which has operational jurisdiction over southern Quezon, said in his report that alias Mark was a ranking leader of the NPA’s Platoon Sol which operates in Bondoc Peninsula before he turned himself in to Brgy Malabahay’s Barangay Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict of BTF ELCAC.

He added that “he handed-over his Cal .30 M1 Garand to joint AFP and PNP forces as a gesture of good faith and belief to the government’s various development initiatives to finally attain the lasting peace which every Filipino truly deserves.”

“The surrender of alias Mark is a telling indicator that the NPA terrorists no longer enjoy the mass base support that they used to have in this area which they consider as one of the bastions of communist terrorism in our country, thus, assuring us that their collapse is, indeed, just a matter of time,” said BGen Tolentino.

Relatedly, Brigadier General Antonio Lastimado, Commander of the 203rd Infantry Brigade which covers Mindoro Island, said that  the surrender of alias Jess and alias Lenny, a Platoon Leader and Political Guide, respectively, of the NPA’s SRMA 4D, was facilitated by Mayor Andres Dangeros of the Municipality of Sablayan.

He attributed the continuing influx of surrenders to “RTF ELCAC MIMAROPA’s proactive stance in actively implementing PRRD’s call for a whole of nation approach in putting an end to insurgency that has been hampering our country’s growth and potentials.”

BGen Lastimado ended his statement by assuring the public that “your soldiers will never waver in fulfilling our most sacred oath to serve the Filipino people and secure every inch of land under our jurisdiction.”

The names of the surrenders are being withheld as part of the security protocol being implemented to prevent possible retaliatory actions that may be launched by their former comrades against them for turning their backs to the underground movement.

Major General Arnulfo Marcelo Burgos Jr, Commander of the Philippine Army’s 2nd Infantry Division, expressed his gratitude to the people of Southern Tagalog “for the unconditional support and unwavering trust to their soldiers who have committed themselves to the attainment of peace, prosperity and development in this part of the country.”

He also shared his optimism that his troops, together with the different agencies and LGUs in the region, will be able to deal the enemies of the state the decisive blows while assuring their constituents that “our firm resolve to win the peace will never waver despite your soldiers’ direct involvement in the government’s actions to contain the spread of COVID-19.”

Maj Gen Burgos ended his statement by lauding the former rebels “for choosing their families over the terrorists, for choosing peace over conflict and for choosing to be one with our Filipinos during our generation’s most challenging times.”

The former rebels will be enrolled in the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program or E-CLIP which provides up to Php 700,000 worth of grants and reintegration packages to members of the NPA terrorists who turned their backs to the underground movement.

Earlier this week, 13 former rebels received Php 688,000 worth of remuneration during a ceremony at Cavinti, Laguna for turning over various firearms to elements of the 202nd Brigade.

They were able to encash their cheques on the same day through the assistance of the provincial government and security forces in the area.