Camp Siongco, Maguindanao – Twenty-one former fighters of the New People’s Army (NPA) surrendered to the government after a successful negotiation with the 6th Infantry Division and Lebak Municipal Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (Lebak MTF-ELCAC) today, June 1, 2021, at the Municipal Hall of Lebak, Sultan Kudarat.
Colonel Eduardo Gubat, Commander of the 603rd Infantry Brigade, said that the surrender of the NPA rebels was led by a certain Ariel Odas Apang @ TATS, CO of Dragon Fruit Platoon, East Daguma Front, together with 20 other members of the platoon. The surrenderers brought along 21 firearms, assorted ammunition, and war materials.
“The mass surrender of the NPA rebels is a result of the relentless efforts of the 603rd Infantry Brigade in partnership with the Local Government Unit of Lebak, Sultan Kudarat; member agencies of the Lebak MTF-ELCAC; and the community itself,” Col. Gubat said.
Major General Juvymax Uy, Commander of JTF Central and 6th Infantry Division, stated that the latest batch of surrenderers brings the number of former NPA fighters who yielded to the government within JTF Central Joint Area of Operation to 60 surrenderers since January of 2021. A total of 60 assorted firearms and explosives were also turned over during the period.
“The recent mass surrender of NPA members will surely have significant impact to weaken the communist terrorist group in Region 12 to “insignificant level” through our intensified collaboration with the Regional Task Force – ELCAC XII, under Secretary Isidro S. Lapeña as Chairperson; Provincial and Municipal Government Units of Sultan Kudarat; and the community as part of the ‘whole-of-nation approach’ in ending the local communist armed conflict,” MGen Uy further stressed.
The former NPA rebels will be temporarily housed in halfway houses of Sultan Kudarat Province while being processed to avail of the assistance under the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) of the government.
Furthermore, immediate cash and livelihood assistance from Governor Suharto Teng T. Mangudadatu of the Province of Sultan Kudarat and Mayor Frederick Celestial of Lebak Municipality will be given to the 21 former NPA members in order to help them start a normal, peaceful, and sustainable life with their families.