BUTUAN CITY – A top leader of the New People’s Army (NPA) and eight of his followers on Wednesday surrendered to the 23rd Infantry Battalion (23IB) at the unit’s headquarters in Barangay Alubihid, Buenavista, Agusan del Norte.
Lt. Col. Julius Cesar C. Paulo, 23IB commander, told the Philippine News Agency Thursday that the surrenderers belong to the dismantled Guerrilla Front 4A (DGF-4A), North Central Mindanao Regional Committee of the NPA, armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).
Among those who surrendered were Khim Agad Mapoy alias Patrick, the front secretary of DGF-4A; and his brother Loreto Agad Mapoy Jr. alias Arvin, the commanding officer of Platoon Joker of DGF-4A.
The other surrenderers from DGF-4A include Rolando A. Morata alias Pang, the political instructor of Platoon Diego of DGF-4A; Mary Chris S. Callanta alias Noem, the political guide of Squad Uno, Platoon Joker; Arlene Egom alias Joan, the medical officer of Squad Dos, Platoon Joker; Revoden C. Morata alias Denden/Sidlak, a member of Sandatahang Yunit Pamproparanda (SYP) Kingdom of DGF-4A; Rexdale C. Morata alias Rex, member of SYP Kingdom; Junrey Tinun-ogan alias Mikmik/Jovan, member of squad uno of Platoon Diego, DGF-4A; and Rowell P. Cardoniga alias Dennis, a member of SYP Kingdom.
The NPA surrenders also handed over to the 23IB three M16A1 rifles, one CZ550 sniper rifle, three .45 caliber pistols, one 9mm pistol and magazines with ammunition.
“They are the remnants of DGF-4A who are already tired of running and hiding due to our intensified focused military operations,” Paulo said.
He added that the insurgents also experienced hunger as most of their underground mass supporters have already cut off their ties with the communist movement and pledged loyalty to the government.
The DGF-4A was dismantled when it suffered heavy losses during an encounter in August 2020 in the boundary of Agusan del Norte and Misamis Oriental where most of its key leaders and members were killed.
Follow-up operations by the 23IB and the series of encounters coupled with the mass surrender of its underground supporters in villages in the two provinces further lessened the capabilities of the front.
“Khim Agad Mapoy alias Patrick took over the front leadership after their secretary was killed, together with their key leaders in the Agusan del Norte-Misamis Oriental skirmish in August last year,” Paulo said.
He added that based on the declaration of the surrenderers, life inside the movement nowadays is very difficult as they already lost their mass support.
“The remnants of DGF-4A are affected by hunger and are already tired of evading as our troops who unrelentingly pursue them through the continued focused military operations. There is no other option left for them but to lay down their arms and return peacefully to their families and communities,” Paulo said.
On Wednesday, the surrenderers were formally presented to Maj. Gen. Andres Centino, the commanding general of the Philippine Army and Maj. Gen. Romeo S. Brawner Jr., the commander of the 4th Infantry Division of the Army.
Centino welcomed the surrender that will lead to the total dissolution of DGF-4A that will allow more government interventions to fully develop the conflict-affected communities in Agusan del Norte.
Paulo also thanked Centino for the support and encouragement to the troopers of 23IB.
He assured the Army chief that the unit will continue to strive for excellence, deliver the mandated tasks, and constantly seek victory to attain lasting peace and development.
The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand. (PNA)