14 NPAs, 105 supporters surrender in Zambo Sur

ZAMBOANGA CITY–Fourteen New People’s Army (NPA) rebels and 105 supporters surrendered and condemned the NPA in a rally Friday in the province of Zamboanga del Sur, officials said.

Lt. Col. Jonathan Obena, the Army’s 44th Infantry Battalion (44IB) commander, said the group of NPA rebels and supporters surrendered Friday in the municipality of Bayog, Zamboanga del Sur.

Obena said the rebels turned over 127 firearms to 44IB and were subsequently turned over to the police for documentation.

The NPA surrenderees later joined a peace rally held at the market site of Bayog town. The rally was initiated by the municipal government, civil society organizations, and non-government organizations, Obena said.

Obane said the rally was followed by an oath of allegiance to the government by the NPA surrenderees and supporters.

Col. Bagnus Gaerlan, the Army’s 102nd Infantry Brigade commander, said the mass surrender “is an evidence of mistrust and frustration to the NPA that hinders peace and progress in their community.”

“We will continuously collaborate with stakeholders for their enrollment to Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (ECLIP) of the government,” Gaerlan added.

Maj. Gen. Roseller Murillo, the Army’s 1st Infantry Division commander, commended the efforts of the Army units, the police, and the local stakeholders who facilitated the surrender of the NPA rebels

“Let us give peace a chance. We should work together for a just and lasting peace without the use of arms and violence,” said Murillo, who is also the Joint Task Force Zampelan (Zamboanga Peninsula and Lanao) commander. Teofilo Garcia, Jr/PNA-northboundasia.com