MANILA, Philippines – Fifty-four communist rebels in Northern Samar returned to the folds of the law recently, the Armed Forces of the Philippines said Tuesday.
Lieutenant Colonel Ramon Zagala, AFP Public Affairs Office chief, said in a statement that the rebels, led by a certain Antonio Fabia of the New People’s Army 38 Barangay (village) Organizing Party and Teria Besconia who handled 15 militia units, surrendered in Bobon town last Sunday.
They turned themselves in to Lieutenant Colonel Noel Vestuir, commanding officer of the Army’s 20th Infantry Battalion.
“The surrender is a clear victory for the people of Samar who yearn for peace. The groups surrendered to government authorities because of their desire to live peacefully and lawfully,” Zagala said.
The rebels underwent documentation and custodial debriefing at 20th IB Headquarters.
Meanwhile, in a belated report by the AFP Central Command on Tuesday, three communist rebels were killed in an encounter with government troops, also in Bugho village, in Pinabacdao town in Samar last Friday.
Two rebels were also injured in the encounter.
The government troops, who encountered about 10 insurgents, were also able to recover one M16 rifle, one M653 rifle, three magazines for AK47, 100 extra rounds for AK47, seven short magazines for M16 and some subversive documents.
The AFP Western Command, which holds jurisdiction of the Visayas region, said indicators showed that the tremendous gains in economic development in the Visayas are traceable to improved peace and order situation in the area.