Two NPA rebels yield in Mountain Province

CAMP MELCHOR DELA CRUZ, Gamu, Isabela — Two New People’s Army (NPA) rebels surrendered to the 503rd Infantry Brigade in the Mountain Province on Friday and Saturday, the military said on Sunday.

Army Captain Jefferson Somera, 5th Infantry Division spokesperson and public affairs chief, identified the surrenderers only as “Ka Efren” and “Ka Kalaya”.

“The Army withheld their (real) names for security reasons,” he told the Philippine News Agency.

Ka Efren was the team leader of the Squad Uno-Kilusang Larangan Guerilla–Marco of the Ilocos-Cordillera Revolutionary Committee operating in the tri-boundaries of Ilocos Sur, Abra and Mountain Province; while Ka Kalaya was a Militia ng Bayan member in their village.

Ka Efren gave up a caliber .45 pistol and two hand grenades while Ka Kalaya surrendered an M-16 Armalite rifle and anti-government documents.

Brig. Gen. Leopoldo Imbang Jr., 503rd Infantry Brigade commander, said the duo sent surrender feelers to Army soldiers and decided to yield after a few days of negotiation.

“They admitted that they were already tired running in the jungle, with no food and support from their previous sources. Their former members either surrendered to the other military units in the area or returned to their provinces after learning that they were no longer advancing their cause in Mountain Province and in Abra,” Imbang said.

Maj. Gen. Perfecto Rimando Jr., 5th Infantry Division commander, lauded the Army soldiers “for continuing their efforts in reaching out” to the remaining rebels in the hinterland villages.

“We will not stop in our combat operations and information dissemination efforts in the countryside, knowing that the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program of the Government has started to sink-in to rebels. We learned that they have discussed this program among themselves already. I think we are on the right track. We expect more surrenderees in the days to come,” he added.

Last Oct. 2, two rebels — Ka Rudy and Ka Danyag — also surrendered and one of them gave up a Carbine rifle. They were members of the Kilusang Larangang Guerilla operating in the boundaries of Mountain Province and Abra. (PNA-northboundasia.com