Siome seven more disgruntled New People's Army (NPA) rebels surrendered over the weekend to government troops in Sarangani province.
Lt. Col. Ronaldo Valdez, commanding officer of the Army's 73rd Infantry Battalion (73IB), said the rebels separately yielded voluntarily on Saturday and Sunday in Alabel and Malapatan towns.
He said four of the returnees were received by their troops Saturday morning in Sitio Lampasak, Barangay Alegria, Alabel.
They were identified as Ariel Tumbo alias Justin, Roger Fa alias Bambo, Ariel Fa alias Jasper, and Larry Campaan alias Jasig, all former members of Platoon North, Guerilla Front Tala of the NPA's Far South Mindanao Region.
1Lt. Orestes Fausto, commander of the 73IB's Alpha company, said the four initially sent surrender feelers last Jan. 30, two days after their platoon leader and another comrade yielded to troops in the area.
Alias Yuhan, commanding officer of Platoon North, and alias Analyn, its political and medical officer, voluntarily surrendered last Jan. 28 along with two high-powered firearms.
They were mainly frustrated with the uncertainty of their cause and the involvement of their unit in extortion activities, Fausto said in an interview on Sunday.
He said the extortion activities, which victimized even small sari-sari store owners, were reportedly ordered by the front's commander identified only as Ka Jerry.
The four surrenderers have also gone tired of hiding in the mountains and pressured with the ongoing offensive operations against them, he said.
Meantime, the three other rebels reportedly surrendered early Sunday morning in Sitio Loot, Barangay Poblacion in Malapatan town.
The returnees, who turned over a .30-caliber M1 Garand rifle, were identified as Jemel Pondong alias Rodel, Onil Pondong alias Arnel and Roger Balandan alias Dab.
The three were listed as former members of Platoon South of the weakened Guerilla Front Tala.
In a statement, Valdez attributed their surrender to the relentless offensive operations of the 73IB and the encounter in Sitio Manag-agol, Barangay Kinam, Malapatan last Jan. 29 that resulted in the killing of two rebels.
He said it was also brought about by extreme anxiety, hunger, and fatigue from days of walking, and sleepless nights.
This is the outcome of our effective combat operations and collaboration with concerned residents and local officials, he said.
Valdez added that they will enlist the surrenderers to the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program or E-CLIP, which will provide them with financial and livelihood assistance as well as other support interventions from the government.
Source: Philippines News Agency