By Malu Cadelina Manar
KIDAPAWAN CITY – At least 10 suspected New Peoples’ Army (NPA) rebels yielded to the 19th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army in North Cotabato since March, data from the Army said.
Lt. Col. Elrick Paraso, 19th IB commander under the 901st Brigade, said the former rebels realized that living in the hinterlands and their fight against the government will only make their lives miserable.
“I know a lot of the NPA rebels wanted to surrender but were only prevented by their leaders. But to the NPAs: Don’t follow what your leaders say. Think about your family. Think about your future,” Paraso said.
Paraso has since intensified his campaign in March to persuade and encourage communist guerillas to go back to the mainstream and live a new life.
He explained the government is willing to support any rebel who would decide to leave the guerilla organization through the Enhanced Comprehensive Livelihood Integrated Program (E-CLIP).
In an interview over Radyo Bida in Kidapawan City, Paraso has given their mobile hotline 0935612 1207 so people could connect with the Army in North Cotabato.
“Any information leading to the surrender of the NPAs will be treated with utmost confidentiality,” he stressed.
Paraso made the announcement after a successful patrol operation on Friday against the NPAs in Barangay Don Panaca, Magpet where three suspected NPA rebels were killed during the firefight.
“It only started when our supporters texted us using our mobile hotline. We verified the text. After we confirmed it to be true, we launched the operation. We became successful because of the strong community support,” he explained.
Barangay Don Panaca is among the areas in Magpet the NPAs used as their ‘bases,’ according to Army reports.