By Francis Wakefield
“Surrender while there is still a chance”.
This was the call made by Maj. Gen. Felimon T. Santos Jr., commander of the Armed Forces of the Philippines- Eastern Mindanao Command (AFP-EastMinCom), to active New People’s Army (NPA) members in the wake of the reported surrender of four more rebels in New Baguio, Makilala in North Cotabato.
“We call on our peace-loving communities to continue to assist and help our units by facilitating those NPAs who want to surrender and be part in our quest for durable peace which everyone is longing for,” Santos said.
Lt. Col. Rhojun Rosales, commander of the Army’s 39th Infantry Battalion, reported to Santos that the four rebels included two leaders and two regular fighters. Their names are being withheld for security purposes.
The rebels also turned in their weapons and other war materials, including three M14 Rifles, an M16 rifle, a Bushmaster (Improvised), two rifle grenades; an IED (C Type Claymore mine), an ICOM Radio (UV-85), rifle magazine and various ammuntions; landmine paraphernalias and other NPA propaganda materials.
Rosales said the NPAs surrendered with the help of the local community and appeared stressed and fatigued from trying to dodge pursuing government forces following a February 8 encounter in the area.