ZAMBOANGA CITY – Demoralized by intensified military offensives against communists, two Communist Party of the Philippines – New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) members surrendered to government authorities in Zamboanga del Sur, military officials reported Wednesday.
Lt. Col. Jo-ar Herrera, 53rd Infantry Battalion (IB) commander, in a statement, said the two surrendered around 9 a.m. Monday to a joint team of the Army, police, and Municipal Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (MTF-ELCAC) in Barangay Saad, Dumingag, Zamboanga del Sur.
The surrenderers were identified as Jonilou Labito alias Ka Jobel, 33, a member of the HQ-KALAW of the NPA’s Western Mindanao Regional Party Committee (WMRPC), and Jelboy Senyara alias Ka Zoren, 24, of the Guerrilla Front BBC, WMRPC.
Herrera said the successful surrender was made possible through the efforts of Mayor Joan Abejuela of Dumingag and the 53IB’s Patrol Base commander.
“We intensified our offensives to press the group on thereby demoralizing the militants even more leaving them with no other choice but to lay down their arms and return to the folds of the law,” said Brig. Gen. Leonel Nicolas, 102nd Infantry Brigade commander.
Nicolas said they will continue to employ peaceful mechanisms to convince the remaining militants to choose the path of peace.
The two rebel returnees are now undergoing custodial debriefing prior to their enrollment to the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) of the government.
“The manpower and capability of the communist terrorist groups in our area of operation are continuously dwindling as some of their members were killed or apprehended while most of them decided to surrender and avail of the reintegration program of the government,” said Lt. Gen. Corleto Vinluan Jr., Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) chief, in a separate statement.
“We urge them to heed our call, surrender, and live peacefully together with their families,” Vinluan added.
Based on records of the Westmincom, a total of 202 NPA rebels and supporters were neutralized and 167 firearms were recovered in 2020.
The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines. (PNA)