STUDENTS from the University of the Philippines and Polytechnic University of the Philippines are among those being targeted for recruitment by the New People’s Army, a group of New People’s Army rebels who surrendered to police authorities in Calabarzon region claimed.
The information was given to police and military investigators by some of the 20 NPA rebels who yielded to the Police Regional Office 4-A and the Army’s 202nd Brigade in Kalayaan, Laguna last Friday and Saturday, said Philippine National Police chief Director General Oscar Albayalde.
“We welcome the return of 20 members of the communist New People’s Army, some belonging to the Indigenous Peoples tribe in Southern Tagalog region who surrendered over the weekend in Kalayaan, Laguna. Upon their surrender, they turned in 12 different types of high-powered firearms and several grenade projectiles. They now enjoy the state-guaranteed liberty to lead normal lives with their families and possibly benefit from the government’s Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program,” Albayalde said.
The PNP chief said that the surrender of the 20 was another indication of the weakening of the rebel movement, particularly in Calabarzon region.
Albayalde placed the nationwide strength of the NPA at a little over 3,000, with around 170 in Region 4-A.
According to PRO4-A director Chief Supt. Edward Carranza, the former NPA members gave formal statements that UP and PUP students were visiting them as part of the “immersion program.”
However, after living for at least a day in NPA sanctuaries, the students will be told they can’t return anymore to their homes and universities since they will be targeted by the police and the military.
Carranza said that there was nothing really new with the ex-rebels’ claims. He mentioned several incidents wherein young government scholars were killed in clashes between NPA guerrillas and security forces in the countryside.
The Calabarzon police director, particularly cited an incident on November 30, 2017 in Nasugbu, Batangas that left 15 suspected NPA gunmen dead, one of them later identified as a UP Manila student. All 15 were identified as members of the NPA Guerrilla Unit 3 of the CPP/NPA’s Southern Tagalog Regional Party Committee.
Albayalde said that 19 of the rebels operating under the NPA’s Sub-Regional Military Area 4-A based in Laguna and the nearby provinces surrendered last Friday in Bgy. San Antonio, Kalayaan municipality while another, who was armed with an M-1 Garand rifle, surrendered last Saturday.
“An information obtained also revealed that several students from UP and PUP were periodically visiting Sitio Pulot, Sitio Magololon and Sitio Balay Kahoy in Bgy. San Antonio, Kalayaan, Laguna and that Dumagats were providing provisions/rations to the rebels twice or thrice a week,” the PRO4-A director said.
He identified the surrenderees as “Ka Saro,” an NPA runner/courier; “Ka Ruben,” a Dumagat chieftain; “Ka Bonay,” another Dumagat chieftain-turned NPA spotter; “Ka Raul,” an NPA helper/courier;” “Ka Banal,” an NPA intelligence agent; “Ka Anto,” an NPA courier; “Ka Nosa,” another NPA courier; “Ka Gibo,” an NPA member; “Ka Tata,” an NPA courier;
“Ka Deling,” an NPA Dumagat organizer who was said to be the wife of a Dumagat leader who was shot dead by Army soldiers in Luisiana, Laguna in 2003 and whose two sons reportedly fled their homes in Kalayaan town after being harassed by the military; “Ka Joseph,” an NPA member; “Ka Grace,” an NPA recruiter; “Ka Orlan,” an NPA courier and Dumagat leader; “Ka Bob,” an NPA supporter/spotter; “Ka Olan,” an NPA member; “Ka Lindo,” an NPA courier; “Ka Mentong,” an NPA member; “Ka Male,” an NPA helper; and “Ka Aman,” also an NPA member.
Speaking for the group, “Ka Ruben” said they were forced to yield due to the hardship they were experiencing while living in the mountains and convinced of President Duterte’s sincerity to help them return to the mainstream of the society.
“Maraming gustong magbalik-loob at hindi na po namin alam kung ano ang aming pinaglalaban,” he said.
The surrenderees turned over a Garand rifle, two 12-gauge shotguns, four cal. .38 revolvers, three home-made 12-gauge shotguns, one Ingram machine pistol, one fragmentation grenade, a rifle grenade, 10 live M-203 ammunition, 175 rounds of 12-gauge ammunition, 62 cal. .38 bullets and 195 rounds of cal. 9mm ammunition.
Carranza said that the 20 surrendered as a result of their implementation of their own “Coplan Terminator 1” and “Coplan Katutubo 2018” aimed at convincing more NPA members and sympathizers in the region to yield.