MANILA Only an estimated 300 New People's Army (NPA) combatants are operating in areas covered by the 1001st Infantry Brigade, its commander has said.
The brigade is responsible for protecting eight municipalities in Compostela Valley; another five in Davao del Norte; and one town in Agusan del Sur, Col. Erwin Bernard Neri said in an interview following the presentation of 238 NPA rebels and their supporters in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City before their visit and meeting with President Rodrigo R. Duterte in Malacanang Palace Wednesday.
Neri said the 238 NPAs and supporters 195 men and 43 women surrendered to government troops from January to Dec. 21 last year. They also gave up 104 firearms.
Of the total, 60 were regular members of the NPA, 152 were members of the so-called "Militia Ng Bayan", and 26 were party branch members, said Neri.
A lot of rebels and their supporters are surrendering due to hunger, unfulfilled promises and demoralization, he said, adding that from December to Feb. 21, some 559 NPA fighters and their supporters also turned themselves in to authorities, along with 16 high-powered firearms and improvised explosive devices.
Of the figure, 60 were regular NPA combatants while the rest were supporters and allies.
With these surrenders, Neri said peace and order in his area of operation have improved immensely.
Source: Philippine News Agency