CAMP MELCHOR F DELA CRUZ, Upi, Gamu, Isabela-Five members of the New People's Army (NPA) surrendered together with three high-powered firearms in Ilagan City and Nueva Vizcaya on October 14 and 15, respectively, the military said Saturday.
Army Maj. Jekyll Julian Dulawan, 5th Infantry Division spokesperson, identified the surrenderers as alias Nethan, 29, squad leader; alias Gerber, 26, squad vice leader; alias Jazzel, 27, all of Squad Uno; alias Rey, 27, team leader of Squad Dos; alias Rod, 51, Giyang Pampulitika of Squad Tres; all are from the Regional Sentro de Grabidad (RSDG) of the Regional Operations Command under Komiteng Rehiyon-Cagayan Valley (KR-CV).
They all yielded to the troops of 95th Infantry Battalion (95IB) of the 502nd Infantry Brigade (502IBde), and the PNP-Ilagan City when they decided to flee from the communist group.
The returnees gave up an Elisco M16 rifle, a Bushmaster M16 rifle, an M-16 A1 rifle with one short magazine loaded with 15 rounds of live ammunition, and a cellphone. The recovered firearms and other items were immediately turned over to authorities for proper disposition.
In Nueva Vizcaya, alias Rod, medical officer of the West Front Committee-Komiteng Probinsya (KOMPROB) Cagayan, surrendered through the PNP Region 2 and National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA).
The surrenderers claimed they are "already tired of running and hiding away from government forces" and that they have "no more place to hide" since the people have been reportedly tipping off their presence or location to authorities.
Alias Rod warned young people not to engage themselves in any group or activities facilitated by communist groups. He also reminded the youth to focus on their studies rather than joining militant groups.
Lt. Col. Carlos Sangdaan, 95th Infantry Battalion commander, lauded the rebel surrenderers and thanked them for yielding themselves and laying down their arms.
Brig. Gen. Danilo Benavides, 502nd Infantry Brigade commander, assured the former rebels that the government "will do its best to deradicalize them" from the indoctrination of the communist rebels.
"I urge those who were deceived by the NPA to go down and surrender. The government is ready to help you live a new life with your family. Let us not engage in more bloodsheds," Police Brig. Gen. Steve Ludan, police regional director, said.
Maj. Gen. Laurence Mina, 5th Infantry Division commander, has appealed for other communist rebels to give up.
"We wish to achieve peace and progress with every Filipino. We want to walk as one united nation, in our journey towards peace and prosperity," he 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)