LEGAZPI CITY – New People’s Army (NPA) rebels in Masbate continue to surrender in droves, saying they could not bear the heinous crimes being committed by the communist terrorist group (CTG) against their province mates.
Capt. John Paul Belleza, 9th Infantry Division Public Affairs Office (9IDPAO) chief, in a statement on Thursday said five regular NPA members yielded to the government troops in Barangay Balete, Aroroy town on Tuesday, bringing with them one high-powered and two low-powered firearms, as well as six anti-personnel mines.
“The influx of surrenderers in the island province started after the CTG’s gruesome killing of the FEU’s football player, Kieth Absalon, and his cousin, Nolven last June 6,” he said.
A total of 505 CTG members and supporters already surrendered from June 18-28, followed by another 16 last July 2. The returnees also turned in assorted firearms including a KG9 submachine gun.
Lt. Col. Siegfried Felipe Awichen, commander of the 2nd Infantry Battalion (2IB), welcomed the continuing surrender of rebels in the province.
“This unstoppable surrender of CTG members and supporters proves that the communist insurgency in Masbate is on the verge of collapse. The Army troops in Masbate, particularly the 2nd Infantry Battalion will be relentless in its combat operations to hunt the remnants of the terrorist group,” he said.
Col. Aldwine Almase, commander of 903rd Infantry Brigade, on the other hand, said while the surrenderers continue to surge, stringent measures are being implemented by security forces in Masbate to prevent the CTG from recruiting and deceiving new members.
“For sure, they will try to look for new members. But it is unfortunate for them because Masbateños have seen their true color and they can no longer be deceived by this terrorist group’s falsehood,” Almase said.
Maj. Gen. Henry Robinson Jr., Commander of Joint Task Force (JTF) Bicolandia, underscored that improved delivery of basic services and promotion of good governance in communities insulate the local populace from communist infiltration.
“The reason why the CTG will never win this fight is that the issues that they usually exploit to discredit the government are now being addressed through the localized implementation of the Whole-of-Nation Approach. Services and development projects are brought to the communities including those in far-flung and vulnerable areas. Ibig sabihin, wala nang puwang sa lipunan ang CTG at laos na rin ang kanilang mga black propaganda kaya hindi tayo titigil sa ating kampanyang tuluyang puksain ang insurhensya. (It means, there’s no place in our society the CTGs and outdated black propaganda, that is why we will never stop until we end insurgency),” Robinson added.
Mass uprising against the CTG is also gaining ground in Masbate as more barangays and municipalities are declaring the terrorists as persona non-grata.
The Communist Party of the Philippines-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines. (PNA)