By Francis Wakefield
Deceit, lies and manipulation are said to be the reasons why 71 dismayed Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army Terrorist (CNTs) members in CARAGA and Northern Mindanao voluntarily surrendered to the Community Support Program (CSP) teams under the Army’s 4th Infantry “Diamond” Division before the NPA celebrate its 50th anniversary on March 29, 2019.
A total of 66 CNTs composed of 29 NPAs, 13 Militia ng Bayan and 24 Underground Mass Organizations from Sitio Ibuan, Barangay Mampi, Lanuza Surigao del Sur surrendered to the troops of 36th Infantry “Valor” Battalion last March 22, 2019.
Another NPA terrorists composed of four NPA regulars surrendered to the 58th Infantry “Dimalulupig” Battalion and one surrendered to the troops under the 1st Special Forces “Anytime, Anywhere” Battalion last March 20, 2019.
The surrenderees brought with them assorted medical and dental supplies, cellphones and other war materials with high informative military value.
The exodus of surrenders came as a result of the relentless combat operations and continuous efforts of the troops in conducting Community Support Programs in the 4th ID area of operations. The unwavering assistant of the Local Government Units and Local Government Agencies made them realize that there is no hope in the futile armed struggle they once believed in.
Darby (not his real name) a former NPA team leader said, “I have seen and experienced the years of lies, deceit and crimes from NPA terrorist organization which I thought was right! The NPA leaders in Guerilla Front 30 (GF 30) made us believe that we are fighting for a cause, but everything is a big lie. I just wasted my life and my family in this forged idealism of the CPP-NPA!”.
Darby claimed that he no longer wants to be a part of the CNTs that has been oppressing the people of CARAGA.
Major General Franco Nemesio M. Gacal, the Commander of the Army’s 4th Infantry Division, commended the battalion commanders and the troops of the 36th IB, 58th IB and 1st SFBn together with the LGUs in their area for their significant accomplishment.
“This is a result of our comprehensive engagement for a peaceful war. As we can see, the local peace initiative is indeed very effective, we were able to reach the grassroots of the society and engage them directly,” Gacal said.
“I am calling to all Local Chief Executives in CARAGA and Northern Mindanao to continue our joint efforts in conducting Localized Peace Talks and Dialogues and further bring the much-needed services into the conflict-affected communities in order to effectively address perennial problems in the communities and once for all end insurgency,” he added.
Currently, the Former Rebels are now undergoing necessary procedures to facilitate their inclusion in the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP).
Within three months into the year 2019, a total of 423 CNT members heed the call to live a peaceful life. The influx of surrenders shows the disintegration of the NPA Terrorist in Northern Mindanao and CARAGA regions.
Gacal said the 4th Infantry Division expect more surrenders the coming months due to the implementation of comprehensive CSP backed by the intensified security operation and the implementation of Peace and Development Zones (PDZs) and Convergence Areas for Peace and Development (CAPDev).