Asuncion, DDN – With the help of the Ata Manobo tribal leaders of Kapalong town in Davao del Norte, another four (4) members of the terrorist group CPP-NPA voluntarily surrendered to the Balik-Loob Assistance Center (BLAC) of the 60 th Infantry Battalion on Friday.
The four (4) surrenderees admitted that they are members of the
Guerilla Front 55 who is now being led by a certain Jose Almendras (alias Jose). They also revealed that they have been recruited—and their tribal villages in Sitios Bolo and Maloco of Barangay Dagohoy,
Talaingod town organized by the CPP-NPA—in 2015 by Almendras and Datu Guibang Apoga. Apoga’s recent surrender to the 56 th Infantry Battalion, however, has greatly affected their morale and moved them to follow suit in surrender.
Two (2) of the surrenderees brought with them their garand rifles.
According to Datu Ongging Masaloon, Datu Jonte Lomanday and Datu Sacopan Damolog, the tribal leaders who escorted the four (4) surrenderees to the 60IB BLAC, since the successful “alsa masa” of their own indigenous peoples’ (IP) communities in Kapalong, they
have also been eyeing to help other IP villages be freed from the CPP-NPA’s terroristic regime.
Masaloon says these sitios (Bolo and Maloco) of Talaingod have been subject to CPP- NPA’s abuse for so long and some residents who managed to evade their terrorist abusers have been urging them [Masaloon] to help their fellow IPs escape their current situation.
“We cannot just sit down and do nothing. This is not simply a fight between the military and CPP-NPA anymore. This our fight, too; a fight for our rights, our ancestral freedoms, and the posterity of our peoples,” Masaloon said in the vernacular.
Other tribal leaders and communities have also expressed support; that in enforcing their customary laws within their ancestral domains and ensuring that such domains are continuously protected from terrorist intrusions. Both Kapalong and Talaingod tribal councils
have earlier released resolutions and manifestos declaring the CPP-NPA and their terrorist allies and legal fronts “Persona Non Grata.”
Meanwhile, further revelation of the surrenderees expose the CPP-NPA’s exploitation of IPs (mostly men but also including women and children) being used as couriers, anti- government informants, transporter of the terrorists’ heavy loads (e.g. food supply and
ammunition), and layers of improvised explosive devices (IEDs).
“We force civilians to let us use their houses as hideouts whenever we are being cornered by operating military troops. We would hide our firearms, bombs, and personal belongings in their backyards and then go out disguising as farmers or regular civilians,” one of the surrenderees said in the vernacular. In a statement, 60IB Commander, Lt. Col. Gilbert Ombos said, “It is always heartbreaking to hear, much see, how these terrorists [CPP-NPA] are abusing and exploiting our indigenous peoples to their evil ends.
But in this instance where we see our IPs helping one another out of their tragic circumstance, we [AFP] cannot help but be glad, even proud, that after all these years of war, the people has started to really realize that they, too, have the power to extinguish this communist oppression plaguing and killing their culture and communities for so long a time now.” Like Datu Guibang and other former CPP-NPA rebels, the four (4) surrenderees will be enrolled to the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program where they may receive livelihood assistance and cash remuneration for surrendered firearms alongside other psychological, social, and economic interventions for their smooth reintegration to mainstream society.