Infighting drove seven members of the communist New People’s Army (NPA) to surrender over the weekend in Agusan del Norte town of Buenavista, an Army official said Monday.
“Infightings have put into danger the lives of these former NPA members. They decided to cut their ties with the movement and go back to the government,” said Lt. Col. Julius Cesar C. Paulo, commander of the Army's 23rd Infantry Battalion (23IB), in a statement.
Of the seven surrenderers who yielded on Sunday, four were NPA regulars, and three were members of the rebel movement's Milisya ng Bayan (MB).
Paulo identified the four NPA regulars only as Longlong, 20, a team leader of under the Caocao of Guerrilla Front (GF) 4A of the North Central Mindanao Regional Committee (NCMRC); Mine, 18; Jack, 32; and Rogue, 26.
The three rebel militiamen are identified only as Dalas, 18; Willy, 28; and Jonie, 26. They worked under the NPA's Sandatahang Yunit Pampropaganda (SYP) of GF4A.
Paulo said the surrenderers yielded several firearms, ammunition, and bomb-making materials.
“They told us that they are no longer secured within the NPA movement because of infighting and factions. Based on our experiences, NPA leaders cannot defend their members, especially during armed encounters. They cannot be trusted, and they only keep on feeding their members with false promises,” Paulo said.
According to Dalas, they were reassigned to the group of NPA sub-commanders Pag-asa and Tazar, whose group operates in the Pantaron Range of Barangay Sinakungan in Esperanza, Agusan del Sur, after their former unit was disbanded.
Dalas said the rift started when their new commanders only prioritized the latter's original members, leaving him and his colleagues to fend for themselves.
“We decided to leave because of inequality within the group. Our leaders prioritized only those who are close to them. Internal strives are also visible among the members who put our lives in danger,” Dalas was quoted by the military as saying.
He added that he and his comrades had also grown tired of running and hiding following the intensified military operations in the area.
Paulo said the seven surrenderers would be enrolled in the government's Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (ECLIP).
The NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand.
Source: Philippines News Agency