NPA leader, 3 others surrender in Compostela Valley province

A New People’s Army (NPA) commander and three other rebels – including a bomb expert — separately surrendered to government troops operating in Compostela Valley province just as the communist group celebrated its 50th-anniversary last month.

Capt. Jerry Lamosao, spokesperson of the Army’s 10th Infantry Division, on Thursday said that alias “Cory,” 25, the vice commander of Platun Basil, Pulang Bagani Command 8, surrendered to the operating troops of 66th Infantry Battalion on Christmas Day in Barangay Panansalan, Compostela town.

The following day, Cory also facilitated the surrender of another NPA member, a certain JB, a bomb expert, Capt. Lamosao said.

Days later, Lamosao said Cory and JB also guided the troops to two other NPA members who wanted to abandon the communist struggle.

Lamosao identified the other surrenderers as alias Aldrin, 17, a resident of Malita Davao Occidental, and alias Jeffrey, 19, a resident of San Fernando, Bukidnon.

According to Lamosao, their surrender was the result of the “sustained focused military operations conducted by the 66th Infantry (Kabalikat) Battalion.”

He said the battalion has been “relentlessly conducting series of operations against the armed groups operating in the boundaries of Davao Oriental and Comval Province.”

Based on the statement of the surrenderers, Lamosao said the NPA rebels experienced fatigue and distress due to the hardships, dissatisfaction in the organization, and leadership crisis.

“They are hoping to start a new life in the mainstream society as being enjoyed by their former comrades who have earlier surrendered,” the Army official said.

The surrenderers handed over an M653 rifle, a .45-caliber pistol, two Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), four blasting caps and other bomb-making materials, and cash amounting to PHP6,500 supposedly intended for the NPA’s food supplies.

Lt. Col. Palmer Parungao, 66IB commander, called on other NPA rebels to yield as “surrender does not entail death but rather an opportunity for a new life”. (PNA/Rhoda Grace Saron)