BANCASI, Butuan City–Some 321 members of the New People’s Army (NPA) and their supporters operating in Esperanza, Agusan del Sur surrendered to the military, a report reaching the Mindanao Daily News Online said yesterday.
The NPAs and their supporters surrended during the peace rally and mass withdrawal of support ceremony on September 15, 2020 held at the Esperanza National High School Gymnasium, Barangay Poblacion, Esperanza, Agusan del Sur.
The former NPA members and the Communist Terrorist Group (CTG) supporters have openly denounced through a march protest rally, the atrocities and continuous exploitation of the Communist Terrorist Group (CTG) of their communities. They expressed their sentiments against the CTG’s deception method and continuous hardship they have brought to them. the military said in a press statement.
Some 32 members and supporters of the CTG composed of 29 regular NPA members, 80 Milisya ng Bayan members, 12 supporters, 151 mass organization members, 23 contacts, and 26 couriers, all residents of Esperanza have pledged allegiance to the government and vowed to eradicate the influence of the CTG in their communities, the report said.
It said that Guerilla Front (GF) 88, GF89 and GF4B of North Central Mindanao Regional Command (NCMRC) are the CTGs conducting agitation, organizing and recruitment in the said municipality to include extortion and threat.
Since January 2020, the miliatry said 607 CPP-NPA Terrorist (CNT) CNTs were already neutralized (killed, apprehended or surrendered) through combat operations, joint law enforcement operations and Community Support Program of the government.
The Municipal Task Force in Ending Local Communist Armed Conflict spearheaded by Leonida M Manpatilan through the efforts of the Community Support Teams (CSTs) of the 26th Infantry (Ever Onward) Battalion under the operational control of the 402nd Infantry (Stingers) Brigade facilitated the Signing of Manifesto entitled “Manipesto sa Among Pagbugto sa Pagka-miyembro sa Kalihukan sa CPP-NPA-NDF Organisasyong Masa ug Militar”.
Mayor Manpatilan lamented the continuous threat brought about by the CNTs who sow fear by killing innocent civilians who refuse to support their movement in order to maintain control and influence in the communities. She also commended the courage and bravery of her constituents for coming back to the folds of the law and have now become peace partners of the government.
Fifteen members received financial assistance worth fifteen thousand pesos (Php15, 000.00) each from the LGU of Esperanza while the rest will still undergo validation.
Meanwhile, Brigadier General Maurito L Licudine, the Commander of the 402nd Infantry (Stingers) Brigade, said that the shift of support of the former members of the CNTs and its mass supporters were already anticipated due to the strong advocacy of the Local Government Unit (LGU) of Esperanza led by their Municipal Mayor in facilitating the Whole of Nation Approach convergence to address the insurgency problem in their municipality.
“Local Chief Executives need to rise up and be the voice of their people in addressing this menace plaguing our communities for several decades. We are fortunate that Mayor Manpatilan and Vice Mayor Siohan together with their Sangguniang Members have joined hands with the security sector and recognized that only in an environment of peace that use can realize peaceful and progressive communities,” Licudine said.
“We call on the other Local Chief Executives to strengthen their resolve to fight these terrorists. Much is expected from our local leaders as they are the key element in leading their respective constituents in driving away the communist terrorist from their communities. Together let’s fight these pests who hamper the socio-economic development potentials of communities for the past decades,” he said.
Licudine also encouraged remaining members of the CTG to surrender and avail the E-CLIP that can provide opportunities for them to start a new life.
Also in attendance in full support to the activity of the MTF ELCAC were Governor Santiago Cane Jr, the Provincial Governor of Agusan del Sur, Lt Col Reynald Romel A Goce, 26IB Commanding Officer, and Datu Carlos “Balubaguio” Otacan, the Municipal IP Mandatory Representative of EADS. (PR)