Army exec: Civilians key to surrender of 6 NPA rebels in Pagadian
PAGADIAN CITY — A local Army commander has credited intensifying civilian-led information drives to shun away from the communist movement for the recent surrender of New People’s Army (NPA) guerrillas here.
A group of six Maoist fighters, five of whom were newbies, gave themselves up to authorities in Zamboanga del Sur Friday morning, August 2.
Army Lt. Col. Marlowe Patria, 53rd Infantry Battalion commander, said the group was led by a certain Ka Diego and they operated in the vast hinterlands of Barangay Lison Valley here.
On Friday morning, August 2, Lison Valley barangay chair Joel Babayson presented the six guerrillas to military and provincial officials, along with four handguns and several ammunition.
According to Patria, Babayson and several others were instrumental in talking the rebels out of the communist movement.
The group’s leader, Ka Diego, 30, has been an NPA fighter for over three years, while the rest were new recruits, still warming up to its ways in the last three months, Patria said.
Patria added that the youngest NPA recruit who surrendered was 17 years old.
He credited the intensified information drive of the local governments in their respective communities for “encouraging these rebels to return to the government’s fold.”
“The good news about the benefits and privileges of returning to the fold of the law has reached them … They are provided an option and that enables them to decide to go down from the hinterlands and return to their normal lives with their families,” Patria explained.
Patria said the Army has been conducting regular patrols in the city’s hinterland villages to guard the implementation of infrastructure projects.
These patrols, Patria added, could have also put pressure on the rebels in the area since the military has maintained its continued presence there.
The NPA is the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines, which is fighting to take over political control in order to build a socialist state.
It follows the strategy adopted by Chinese communist Mao Zedong to win in 1949, which is advancing military strength and gaining victories from the countrysides to the cities to conquer the center of power. /lb