29 NPAs surrender in Eastern Samar

The New People’s Army (NPA) experienced another blow as 29 of their members surrendered to the the Military in Eastern Samar amidst the government intensified counter-insurgency operations.

Lieutenant Colonel Jimmy Jimenez, commanding officer of the 14th Infantry Battalion (Avenger), 8th Infantry Division, said 12 of the rebel-returnees were from the NPA Underground Mass Organization in Barangay Boco, Can-avid, Eastern Samar; nine from Milisya ng Bayan (MB); and eight more were regular members of the NPA.

The rebels surrender was said to be “due to hopelessness and frustrations” over unfulfilled promises of their leaders and after learning the the government’s Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP).

“The surrender is a result of the on-going Community Support Program (CSP), enhanced civil military and intelligence operations being implemented in Barangay Boco, a known hotbed of communist insurgency in Samar Island,” Jimenez revealed.

Jimenez said Barangay Boco is categorized as an “influenced” or rebel-infested village since 2013. The barangay also forms part of the guerilla base of the NPAs roaming in Can-avid municipality and other nearby towns in Eastern Samar, he said.

“The clearing of Barangay Boco is one of the focus and has been the priority of the 14IB as part of its operational campaign to achieve its mission in degrading the armed components of the NPA in our area of operation,” he explained.

“The mass surrender will surely destroy the chain of communist insurgents’ mass base support in the far-flung and isolated villages of the province,” he added.

The military said elements of CSP-Bravo Company, 14IB led by 2LT Dennis Carig, managed to convince the rebels to end their ties with the NPA.

“The collaborative efforts of the CSP team with the local government unit (LGU), non-government agencies and organizations (NGAs, NGOs) in addressing issues on poverty and land ownership further gained the support and trust of the villagers and encouraged them to pursue [a] lasting peace in their barangay,” Carig said.

The military said relentless military operations will continue against NPA rebels in the province especially in the towns of Can-avid, Oras, Doloers, Arteche, Jipapad, Maslog, and San Policarpio.

“However, we are always ready to receive those NPA members and their supporters who are willing to go back into the folds of the law and live normal lives with their families,” Jimenez assured.