BUTUAN CITY – A ranking New People’s Army (NPA) rebel abandoned the communist movement due to demoralization as government troops relentlessly implement their focused military operations in Surigao del Sur.
In a statement Saturday, the Army’s 3rd Special Forces Battalion (3SFBn) bared the surrender of Patrick Tejeros Wagdos, alias Tuloy, the squad leader of the Sandatahang Yunit Pampropaganda – Interyor/Grupong Staff of the Headquarters Force, Sub-Regional Committee Southland, North Eastern Mindanao Regional Committee of the NPA.
Wagdos surrendered at the 3SFBn headquarters in Purok 3, Barangay St. Christine, Lianga town on Thursday.
He also handed over to the Army nine AK-47 rifles and seven magazines for AK-47 rifles.
Lt. Col. Paulo Baylon, commander of 3SFBn, urged the remaining NPA insurgents in Surigao del Sur to yield and return to their families and communities.
“It’s time for these NPA rebels to listen to the message of reconciliation of the government and for their loved ones to help us convince them to surrender. The government is sincere in ending the local communist armed conflict in the country,” Baylon said.
Wagdos is currently undergoing custodial debriefing and processing of documents to avail of the benefits under the government’s Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program.
He will also receive initial immediate assistance from the provincial social welfare office and cash incentives from local government units, as well as a PHP20,000 livelihood assistance through the Livelihood Settlement Grant program of the Department of Social Welfare and Development.
In a separate statement, Lt. Gen. Greg Almerol, commander of the Eastern Mindanao Command, said Saturday that the surrender was the result of the loss of influence of the NPA guerrillas in the Caraga region.
The assessment was based on the 4th Quarter 2022 Joint Armed Forces of the Philippines -Philippine National Police Intelligence Committee – Eastern Mindanao Area Periodic Status Report on Threat Groups.
He lauded the troops of 3SFBn and the 401st Infantry Brigade under the 4th Infantry Division for the efforts that led to Wagdos’ surrender.
“The surrender will further demoralize these communist terrorists from fighting and eventually lead to their total collapse,” Almerol said. (PNA)