65 NPAs Surrendered, including Minors
As of this morning, February 28, sixty-five (65) members of the New People’s Army (NPA) have already surrendered to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), most of which are citing hardships, family reasons and hope for a better life outside the organization. Most of these surrenderers h already expressed that they have been disillusioned over how the NPA has relegated into banditry.
Yesterday (February 27), thirteen (13) NPA members including two (2) minors surrendered to the AFP in separate occasions in Davao Oriental and Davao Occidental.
A certain alias Dongkoy,17-year old, of Brgy Binondo, Baganga town in Dao Oriental voluntarily surrendered to the 67th Infantry Battalion after spending more than 15 months as an NPA rebel. He joined the communist group on August 19, 2015, and left on December 5, 2016, with the help of their Barangay Chairman.
That same day, an alias Cicel, 17-year old, and 11 other NPA rebels surrendered to the 73rd Infantry Battalion in Davao Occidental. They voluntarily surrendered with the help of local barangay executives of Datal Anggas in Manuel Peralta, Malita town.
Cicel is a regular member of the NPA along with two others identified as Rowena Salda and Lester Monpon. The other nine are known members of Yunit Milisya ng Bayan, a lower unit of the NPA.
These recent surrenders show the rampant recruitment of minors by the NPA. This clearly violates existing conventions on human rights and International Humanitarian Law.
They also manifest the hardships that these former NPA had to go through trying to evade the hands of the law. We welcome them back to the mainstream society and assist in their successful reintegration as productive members of their communities.
Latest NPA Atrocities
We have received reports that lawless New People’s Army rebels attacked a site for a new hydroelectric power plant and a pineapple plantation in separate incidents on Saturday, February 25.
According to witnesses, the NPA rebels fired several warning shots and laid some improvised explosive devices inside the compound of Pulanai Hydroelectric Powerplant in Valencia City, Bukidnon.
Also, another NPA unit burned down two trucks and one trailer owned by the Davao Agri-Venture Corporation, a pineapple plantation in Quezon town also in Bukidnon.
The AFP condemns these new NPA attacks on private businesses that provide livelihood and promote development for our people and their community. The NPA’s violent nature and greed hampered economic growth and retarded the development potentials of our communities where our people use to belong to.
By attacking powerless businesses and individuals, the NPA has shown their diminishing capability and complete lack of interest in truly addressing the root causes of poverty.
Latest Operation Conducted against NPA
On 27 03:00 AM, according to COL ARNULFO MARCELO BURGOS, Commander of 202nd Infantry Brigade, his men encountered more or less 15 NPAs. The troops responded at the site due to reported presence of armed men conducting extortion activities in Brgy Lumaniag, Lian, Batangas. The encounter resulted to one enemy killed; troops have gained one M16 rifle, one M14 rifle, and one Garand rifle.
So far, the AFP has conducted 43 operations against the NPA. We are reckoning this from the period February 4, when the President has terminated the peace negotiations with the NPA. With that, we are having an average of two encounters a day against the NPA.
As a result of these operations, 16 NPA members were killed, four (4) were wounded, and 17 were arrested.
Likewise, we were able to recover 22 high-powered and low-powered firearms from the NPA rebels while 15 –including IEDs– were voluntarily surrendered to us by the NPA.
On the Government’s side, the AFP has recorded a total of 38 casualties: of which, eight (8) were killed-in-action while 30 were wounded-in-action.
On Localized Ceasefire
We have heard the report from Davao City Mayor Sarah Duterte who welcomes the expression of the NPA to have a localized peace talk in their area.
In Compostela Valley, we have received the report from MAJOR GERAL RAFAEL VALENCIA who said that members of the NPA are also opting for a localized peace talks. The members of the Local Government are the ones brokering these localized peace talks.
The same case is true in the Visayas; we heard from MAJOR GENERAL RAUL FARNACIO, the Division Commander of 8ID that members of NPA in his area of operation also signify their intention to go to a localized peace talks and this is now being arranged by the local government.
In Bondoc Peninsula, the Provincial Board Members are catering to this particular desire of the NPA to go to localized peace talks if they cannot attain success at the national level.
We would like to encourage and welcome all those who have expressed their intent to do peace talks even at the localized level in order for us to gain success in this particular area.