CAMP MELCHOR F. DELA CRUZ, Upi, Gamu: A high-ranking official of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) surrendered to the 95th Infantry Battalion (IB) in Palanan town, Isabela.
The CPP-NPA official’s wife and nephew also yielded to government troops, said the Fifth Infantry Division (ID) in a press statement.
For security reasons, the surrenderers were only identified as alias Badi, 49, a resident of Barangay Puro, Legazpi City, Albay who was commanding the Regional Ordnance Group of the Regional Operations Command; alias Rowena, 36, a resident of Barangay Alomanay, Palanan, Isabela who was a member of squad tres of the Regional Centro de Gravedad; and alias Eric, a resident also of Barangay Puro, Legazpi, Albay who was also a member of squad tres as a logistics officer.
According to the Fifth ID Public Affairs Office chief Maj. Jekyll Julian Dulawan, the former rebels operated under the Komiteng Rehiyon-Cagayan Valley.
Dulawan said the three ex-rebels also yielded three M16 rifles, two bandoliers, three mobile phones, medical paraphernalia and subversive documents with high intelligence value.
Dulawan also said the surrenderers revealed valuable information to the joint troops of the 95th IB, the 98th IB and local police that resulted in the discovery of an arms cache at Sitio Dadugen, Barangay Dibuluan, San Mariano on July 13.
The arms cache contained 68 pieces of anti-personnel mines, four detonating cords at 600 meters each, seven blasting machines, nine remote-control devices, two car remote controls, improvised explosive device paraphernalia, one portable power generator, a rifle scope, a hard drive, a printer and personal belongings.
The former rebels said they decided to surrender to authorities due to the deteriorating situation within the communist movement.
“Since the death of alias Yuni, the group [was] in chaos and in the pit of its downfall,” alias Badi said in the local dialect.
Dulawan said Yuni’s death was an eye-opener for the former rebels to realize that the armed struggle against the government was one of the reasons for poverty.
Alias Badi also acknowledged that the CPP-NPA hinders the development in communities especially in far-flung areas.
Lt. Col. Carlos Sangdaan Jr., 95th IB commander, said the CPP-NPA committed human rights violations for recruiting minors and forcing individuals to join its terrorist organization.
“They are also violators of International Humanitarian Law by continuously fabricating and using improvised explosive devices and anti-personnel mines or APMs,” Sangdaan added.
Brig. Gen. Danilo Benavides, 502th IB commander, lauded the efforts of the 95th IB, of the 98th IB, and of the Isabela police for its sustained efforts to pursue peace in the Province of Isabela.
“We are thankful that the surrendering rebels renewed their trust in the government. Rest assured that they will be protected and be given benefits and livelihood programs under the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program [in order that] they can smoothly start their life anew,” Benavides said.