Davao City – Lt. Gen. Greg Almerol, commander of the Eastern Mindanao Command (Eastmincom), lauded on Friday the combined efforts of the military, police, former rebels, and the local government units in clearing the remnants of the communist New People’s Army Sub-Regional Committee 5 (NPA-SRC5).
The Eastmincom statement came after various NPA members who were former students of the so-called “lumad schools” and its underground mass organization supporters continued to surface and scrap the local communist armed struggle.
On February 28, a total of 206 indigenous individuals here who were members of various NPA front groups surrendered and declared “pagsalikway” or rejection of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP)-NPA in a ceremony at the Balimba Hills, Sitio JBL, Barangay Sto. Niño in Talaingod, Davao del Norte.
The surrenderers included eight members of the NPA Sub-Regional Guerrilla Unit (SRGU)/Sub-Regional Committee (SRC) 5; Bakwits – five; Militiang Bayan (MB) – six; Komiteng Rebolusyonaryo sa Munisipal (KRM) – four, Komiteng Rebolusyonaryo sa Baryo (KRB) – 168, and Salugpungan teachers and students – 15.
“This is yet another testament of the effectiveness of President Rodrigo Duterte’s Executive Order 70 which institutionalized the whole-of-nation approach. The SRC5, which is considered the most active SRC unit of the NPA in the country, is now demolished,” Almerol said.
“We owe this not only to our security forces but also to our civilian counterparts and local leaders who equally contributed finally ending the local communist armed conflict,” he added.
Almerol pointed out that the recent mass surrender was made more significant by the submission of former Salugpungan students and teachers.
“This gave us another proof that, indeed, there is an underground activity in these fake lumad schools. The NPA lured our IP children to the terrorist movement, whose only desire is to be educated but were instead radicalized by their teachers,” Almerol said.
He added that the surrenderers revealed that the sustained focus military operations led to the collapse of the SRC5.
Before the mass surrender, former high-ranking members of the SRC5, Southern Mindanao Regional Command (SMRC) led by Ida Marie Montero alias Mandy yielded to the 1003rd Brigade on January 13 this year.
She encouraged her former comrades to return to the folds of the law and support the government.
“The cooperation of alias Mandy and other former rebels who previously encouraged their comrades to turn in, as well as provided our troops with valuable information on their whereabouts, allowed us to locate all remnants of SCR5 and finally convinced them to surrender,” Almerol said.
He also called on the remaining members of the NPA groups in Eastern Mindanao to surrender.
“Your former comrades who are now at the side of our government are proof that they are now living with freedom after they chose to yield. It is high time for you to follow in their footsteps, and not those who chose to die for a failed cause,” Almerol said.
The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines.
The Anti-Terrorism Council also formally designated the National Democratic Front as a terrorist organization on June 23, 2021, citing it as “an integral and inseparable part” of the CPP-NPA that was created in April 1973. (Che Palicte)
(Source: Philippine News Agency)