Surrender of 18 rebels stalls NPA’s bid to retake Leyte villages

Surrender of 18 rebels stalls NPA’s bid to retake Leyte villages

TACLOBAN CITY – The formal surrender of 18 rebels in the upland village in Ormoc City has blocked attempts of the New People’s Army (NPA) to recover their formerly-influenced communities.

The Philippine Army’s 802nd Infantry Brigade has commended the Ormoc Integrated Peace and Development Association (OIPDWA) for convincing rebels on lie-low status to formally yield to the government on Sept. 12.

“With the efforts of the Ormoc Integrated Peace and Development Association (OIPDWA), being a government-registered and accredited organization of former rebels in the city, the surfacing lie-low NPA members sought the help of Quezon Jr. village chief Federico Manigao Jr., who in turn coordinated with the military,” the Army said in a statement on Tuesday.

Of the 18 surrenderers, three of them are Yunit Militia (YM) members of the communist terrorist group, nine former full-time NPA members, four former YM members, one former full-time organizer, and one former runner-liaison officer, according to the military.

At least 15 of the surfacing NPA lie-low members are residents of Quezon Jr. village in Ormoc City.

Others are residents of Hugpa, San Antonio, and Can-untog villages.

One of the surrenderers is Manigao’s brother, according to the Army’s report.

During separate interviews with soldiers and local authorities, the 18 inactive NPA members said they decided to officially turn themselves in rather than be reconnected with the communist terrorist group.

They admitted that the NPA platoon led by a certain Juanito Sellesa Jr. alias Tibor or Jay, a native of Luneta village in Lapaz, Leyte, attempted to recruit them back to armed rebellion.

“As they promised to help convince their former comrades to totally cut off any remaining link with the NPA, more rebel members and supporters on lie-low status from different villages of Ormoc are expected to surface in the next few weeks in order to live a normal life,” the army added.

Army 802nd Brigade commander Brig. General Zosimo Oliveros thanked the OIPDWA for its effort in facilitating the return to the folds of the law of their former comrades.

“The efforts of the OIPDWA have a great impact in preventing the communist terrorist group from reconnecting with their former comrades and reestablishing a foothold in the village,” Oliveros said.

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP)-NPA is also listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, United Kingdom, European Union, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines. (PNA)

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