FORTY-FOUR members of the New People’s Army on Thursday surrendered to police authorities in Sarangani province and burned the ‘hammer and sickle’ flag of the communist movement as a sign of their support to the government, Police Regional Office 12 director, Brigadier General Michael John F. Dubria announced yesterday.
Dubria, joined by Sarangani Governor Steve Chiongbian Solon, Maitum Mayor Alexander Bryan Reganit, Kiamba Mayor Danny Martinez and Maasim Mayor Zyrex Pacquiao welcomed the 44 ex-guerrillas at the Kiamba Municipal Hall early morning Thursday.
The member of Philippine Military Academy ‘Sambisig’ Class of 1991 said the 44 used to be armed partisans of the underground rebel movement who operated in the municipalities of Maasim, Kiamba and Maitum until they were convinced to surrender to the government following talks with officials of the Joint Provincial and Municipal Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict.
Shortly after officials formally accepted their surrender, the ex-NPA members burned a communist flag and other rebel documents to show they are really tired of the movement.
One of the 44 identified only as ‘Ka Tiger’ told the officials they have realized the futility of putting up an armed struggle against the government especially now that the country and the rest of the world are facing the COVID-19 crisis.
Dubria said the 44 were the last big group of rebels to surrender in Central Mindanao. Last May 15, a total of 21 members of the NPA Guerrilla Fronts 72 and 73 voluntarily surrendered to security officials in Tupi and Banga municipalities in South Cotabato.