TACLOBAN CITY - Another 15 New People's Army (NPA) rebels from an upland community in Ormoc City have formally surrendered to the Philippine Army on Thursday.
This brought to 32 the total number of rebels from Ormoc's upland villages who have abandoned the communist terrorist group (CTG) in less than two months.
The 15 NPA rebels, who were on a lie-low status from the rebel movement, surrendered to soldiers of the 93rd Infantry Battalion.
They include four full-time NPA fighters, five members of an underground mass organization, three members of Yunit Militia (YM), a former chairperson of the Batakang Organisasyon sa Partido, a former para-legal officer, and a former officer of a district committee of the dismantled NPA North Leyte Front.
Of the 15 surrenderers, eight are residents of Lake Danao village and seven are from Quezon Jr. village.
They are set to take their oath of allegiance to the government on October 16, together with 17 other former CTG members who surrendered last month.
This will be held during the service caravan organized by the local Task Force on Ending Local Communist Armed Conflict (TF-ELCAC) in the regional, provincial, and city levels.
"The former NPA members said that sometime in 2016, they started slowing down their participation in NPA activities because of frustration over unfulfilled promises and rampant corruption among their cadres," the Philippine Army's 802nd Infantry Brigade said in a statement issued on Friday.
The former rebels said life in the armed struggle was very hard. While fighters in the mountains could hardly sleep and eat, their leaders enjoyed a good life in the lowlands, they revealed.
Members of the Ormoc Integrated Peace and Development Workers Association (OIPDWA) have been instrumental in convincing the former rebels to formally surrender.
"We are expecting more lie-low and active NPA members to voluntarily turn themselves in the coming weeks since those who yielded have openly expressed their commitment to help convince their former comrades to return to the folds of the law as well. This expectation is bolstered by the fact that for the third quarter of this year, 33 former CTG members have likewise yielded to 14th Infantry Battalion in the 5th district of Leyte," Brig. Gen. Zosimo A. Oliveros, commander of the 802nd Brigade, said.
The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP)-NPA, which has been waging a five-decade armed struggle against the government, is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines. (PNA)