Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Government’s Whole-of-Nation Approach Yields New NPA Surrenders in Agusan Sur, Davao de Oro

ASUNCION, Davao del Norte
– With the continued implementation of the administration’s Executive Order No. 70 or the Whole-of-Nation Approach to Ending the Local Communist Armed Conflict (ECLAC), four (4) members of the CPP-NPA’s Weakened Guerilla Front 3, Sub-regional Committee 4, Southern Mindanao Regional Committee surrender to the troops of the 60th Infantry (MEDIATOR) Battalion over the weekend.

Three (3) of the rebel-returnees surrendered to the 60IB’s Alpha Company post in Loreto, Agusan del Sur while the other one surrendered to its Charlie Company post in Laak, Davao de Oro. All four (4) rebel-returnees surrendered with their firearms.

Alias Keno, who has been a member of WGF 3 for over three (3) years, says that he and many of his comrades have been wanting to surrender to the authorities since February; following the intensive conduct of combat operations in the boundary areas of Agusan del Sur and Bukidnon then.

However, their commanders have been extra strict and vigilant for any sign of ‘disloyalty’ among their members.

Surrendering with Keno and one other (Alias Noli), Alias Chico further revealed that the incessant combat operations of 60IB and other AFP units in the area have cornered their group and left them struggling for food and other supplies. “Most of our comrades are already low in spirit due to hunger, fatigue, and fear that the military’s operations can catch up on us anytime,” Chico added in the vernacular.

Alias Noli, on the other hand, says that many others, including him, have been laying low since February and have only been waiting for a better time to surrender. According to him, 60IB’s conduct of Community Support Program in their barangay in La Paz, Agusan del Sur ‘inspired’ him to surrender since the program already convinced his son and his other relatives to turn themselves in. Further, his entire barangay has already declared the CPP-NPA-NDF and all its legal fronts as Persona Non Grata since June this year.

Keno surrendered his caliber .45 pistol; Chico his caliber .38 revolver; and Noli his carbine rifle.

Meanwhile, alias Mar surrendered to 60IB amidst its ongoing pursuit operations against a splinter unit of WGF 3 who recently attacked a local tribal defense group in Laak.

Mar claims that he surrendered not only because of the ongoing combat operations against them but also because he is already tired of the corrupt and evil acts they are forced to do as NPA terrorists. Before surrendering, Mar’s group abducted a local in Laak to be used as a guide going to their target area. Mar, however, already had it when he heard that their leader would kill the said guide once they reach their destination. This made him decide to run to save both himself and the abducted local.

Mar surrendered with this M16 rifle.



While it is apparent that our persistent conduct of combat operations has been effectively reducing the armed components of the CPP-NPA, the collective impact of our ‘Whole-of-Nation’ approach to ending the local communist armed conflict has no doubt significantly contributed to the dismantling the communist-terrorist groups’ influence not only over their mass supporters and guerilla bases but also among their own members.

For one, the voluntary surrender of 410 CPP-NPA personalities with some 78 assorted firearms over the last few months through the conduct of Community Support Programs in identified communist-terrorist strongholds in Agusan del Sur, Davao de Oro, and Davao del Norte, has started a snowball effect that continue to encourage more and more NPA regulars, Milisya ng Bayan, and even those locally exploited residents to also surrender.

Couple this with the pouring of government programs and projects over these same localities and we render the CPP-NPA and their deceitful propaganda useless and without effect over their ‘target masses.’

As of this date, the Whole-of-Nation initiatives being undertaken by 60IB in collaboration with various national government agencies, LGUs, and people’s organizations have already poured an estimated PhP30,000,000.00 (THIRTY MILLION PESOS) worth of projects and programs in the four (4) barangays from where these rebel returnees came from. This excludes other infrastructure projects such as the construction of farm-to-market roads which will physically connect these vulnerable areas to town centers, thus, allowing the government to deliver its services to the people with much ease.

Currently, with our Community Development Teams still deployed in these areas, 60IB continues to facilitate various livelihood enterprises of People’s Organizations, most of whom are former members of CPP-NPA underground mass organizations. These livelihood enterprises seek to aid these organizations and their members to smoothly reintegrate back to society while also ensuring their socio-economic stability.

All four (4) rebel-returnees will be endorsed to their respective LGUs of Loreto and La Paz in Agusan del Sur, and to Laak in Davao de Oro for immediate assistance. They will also be later enrolled in the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (ECLIP) of the national government.

Source: Civil-Military Operations Office, 60th Infantry Battalion, Joint Task Force Agila, PA

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