45 rebels surrender in Calabarzon

FORTY-FIVE members of the New People’s Army operating in Calabarzon region  have surrendered to the local police and the military, Philippine National Police chief Director General Oscar D. Albayalde announced yesterday as he expressed optimism more leftist rebels will yield to the government as a result of the ongoing localized peace talks.

On orders of Gen. Albayalde, police stations nationwide have opened their doors to NPA members who want to surrender and return to the mainstream of the society following President Duterte’s decision to scrap peace talks with the Communist Party of the Philippines and the National Democratic Front led by self-exiled communist leader Jose Ma. Sison.

The 45, composed of 26 males and 19 females, were described by Police Regional Office 4-A director Brigadier General Edward E. Carranza as members either of the Milisyang Bayan, Kontak Baseng Masa and Organisadong Masa under the NPA’s Komiting Larangan Gerilya Cesar, Sub-Region Miltiary Area 4-A.

“Most of them are part-time guerilla fighters and part-time farmers who play the dual role of NPA protectors and political enforcers in their respective barangays,” Carranza  said.

He added that 33 of the guerrillas who were operating in the provinces of Laguna, Rizal and Quezon yielded to officials of the PRO4-A Regional Intelligence Division, the Laguna, Rizal and Quezon Police Provincial Offices and the Army’s 202nd Brigade following the implementation of the Army’s 80th Infantry Battalion’s Coplan: Terminator 2’ 2019 and Complan ‘Katutubo’ 2018 of the PRO4-A RID headed by Lieutenant Colonel Serafin Petalio II.

Another 12 rebels  from General Nakar, Quezon yielded to PRO4-A RID officers last Saturday while three more surrendered on Sunday.

Carranza said  among those who surrendered is a chieftain of the Dumagat tribe and some of his tribesmen from the mountainous areas of Laguna, Rizal and Quezon who were recruited by the NPA into becoming their “pasa-bilis” or spotters of military and police patrols.

The official said  the rebels peacefully surrendered following a series of  dialogues with  police and military officials in their areas. All are now under the custody of the PRO4-A Regional Special Operations Unit 4-A and undergoing documentation and routine debriefing process.

The official said that the rebels also surrendered seven firearms, several magazines, nearly 500 rounds of various live bullets, detonating court and 42 pieces of blasting caps.

“Initial debriefing showed that most of the surrenderees were utilized to monitor the presence and activities of the government forces in their respective locality. Moreover, they were also utilized as escorts, guides or runners and their residences were utilized as safe houses by the NPAs in case of emergencies,” the PRO4-A director said.

With Celso Lidot