The Philippine Army’s 53rd Infantry “Matapat” Battalion (53IB) together with the 1st Military Intelligence Battalion (1MIB), 44th Infantry “Agile N’ Stable” Battalion, 1st Civil-Military Operations “Mahigalaon” Battalion, 1st Cavalry Battalion (1CAV), Philippine National Police (PNP), and other government security forces facilitated the surrender of 4 members of the Western Mindanao Regional Party Committee (WMRPC) of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) on May 29, 2021 in Zamboanga Peninsula.
Authorities identified the communist NPA terrorists (CNTs) who surrendered as alias “Romnick,” team leader of the defunct HQ-Kalaw; alias “Renz Co” of the defunct Guerilla Front Feliciano “A”; alias Jey, member of the defunct Main Regional Guerilla Unit (MRGU); and a member of the Militia ng Bayan of the Guerilla Front BBC.The said CNTs yielded their firearms including one M203 Grenade Launcher and two caliber .45 pistols with magazines and ammunition. Earlier in May 12, 2021, two other CNTs surrendered, identified as alias “Jonas” and “Reden,” also surrendered 7 high-powered firearms including an M14 rifle, three M16 assault rifles, a grenade launcher, a carbine, and a rocket propelled grenade (RPG) launcher. 1st Infantry “Tabak” Division Commander Maj. Gen. Gene Ponio urged the remnants of the WMRPC to lay down their arms and return to the folds of law.
“You already lost your mass support, your numbers are dwindling, and your capabilities are weakening. Despite all that, we remain our doors open for those who wish to have better and peaceful lives with your families,” MGen. Ponio said.
“The sustained focused military operations of the security sectors and the continued community-building efforts in partnership with the different government agencies definitely caused a huge impact on the will to fight of the remaining members of the WMRPC,” 102nd Infantry “Igsoon” Brigade Commander Brig. Gen. Leonel Nicolas said.
“The series of surrender of CTG personalities with their firearms also speaks for the trust and confidence of these former rebels to the commitment and sincerity of the government in its programs for inclusive peace and development,” BGen. Nicolas added.
“We welcome the new Friends Rescued (FRs). You are now free from the twisted ideologies of the communist terrorist groups (CTGs). You have the second chance to regain your lives to become productive members of society. Avail all the services of the government intended for you as you start peaceful lives in the folds of the government,” 53IB Commanding Officer Lt. Col. Jo-ar Herrera said.
As of posting, the former rebels are being assisted in processing their claims under the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (ECLIP) which covers PhP65,000 worth of Immediate Cash and Livelihood Assistance, as well as, Firearm Remuneration depending on the valuation of the firearms surrendered.