19 NPA rebels yield in Sultan Kudarat on 50th anniversary
ISULAN, SULTAN KUDARAT — At least 19 communist rebels operating in the boundaries of four Mindanao provinces surrendered to the Army on Friday as the communist-led New People’s Army (NPA) marked its 50th founding day.
The communist rebels were presented to Sultan Kudarat Gov. Pax Mangudadatu during ceremonies on Friday and were given cash assistance for returning to the fold of the law.
Mangudadatu told the former rebels that they made the right decision to surrender and live normal lives.
“You cannot win a battle against mighty government forces,” he told the former rebels in Filipino. “Good that you chose to join us and become productive citizens.”
“This surrender indicates their desire to live normal and productive lives,” Lt. Col. Elmer Boongaling, 33rd Infantry Battalion commander, said of the rebels who surrendered to the Army earlier Friday in Sen. Ninoy Aquino, Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao.
After their surrender, the former rebels received livelihood assistance, payment for their firearms as well as housing through the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) of Sultan Kudarat.
Boongaling said 19 former rebels turned over 13 high powered firearms, explosives, and ammunition.
They used to operate in the provinces of North Cotabato, Davao Del Sur, Sultan Kudarat, and South Cotabato.
“Their surrender on the very day of the NPA’s supposed founding anniversary is a very clear indication that its ranks continue to decline due to the relentless efforts of the troops on the ground to hunt them down while providing space for them to surrender,” Col Efren Baluyot, the Brigade Commander of the 1st Mechanized Infantry Brigade, said./lzb
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