CABADBARAN CITY, Agusan del Norte, Jan. 21 -- Through the relentless efforts of the Community Support Teams (CSTs) deployed in the area of operations of the 29th Infantry (MATATAG) Battalion under the leadership of Lt. Col. Isagani O. Criste, three NPA rebels together with four other mass supporters surrendered to the troops on January 16, 2020, in Brgy. San Antonio, Remedios Trinidad Romualdez (RTR), Agusan del Norte.
The said NPA rebels and mass supporters who voluntarily surrendered belong to one clan. They were identified as alias YENI, 39 years old; alias VIC, 43 years old; and alias RINA, 40 years old - all armed members of Squad "BOBEE- 3", Sandatahang Yunit Pangpropaganda (SYP) 21C, Weakened Guerilla Front (GFC) 21 of North Eastern Mindanao Regional Command under the leadership of alias ABDUL. The four who were mass supporters and couriers of the Communist NPA Terrorists (CNTs) with ages ranging from 12 to 33 years old are the sons and daughters of these rebels. Said surrenderers brought along with them one M-16 rifle, one magazine, ammunition, and medical supplies.
Alias Vic and alias Rina emotionally said that at first, they thought that the NPA would help their family because "that's what they promised us. Our children were even used to support them. We trusted them to help our family, but everyday no help was offered and our situation just worsened."
"We realized that as parents we are supposed to be protecting and leading our children to what is right, but it seems we're the ones dragging them to danger. So, we decided to find ways to surrender in order to save our family. We are so grateful that the Army is present and never gets tired of encouraging those who lost their way to surrender and return," they said.
Likewise, according to alias Yeni, they could no longer stand the extreme fatigue, hunger and hardships that they experienced in the mountains. "We are already tired of fighting for an ideology full of lies. It was fortunate that we listened to a radio program that discussed how the government would help those who are willing to surrender. That gave us hope and strengthened our desire to finally surrender," said Yeni.
Lt. Col. Isagani O. Criste, Commanding officer of 29IB said that he was glad that these NPA rebels were enlightened and decided to surrender and return to the folds of law where they can be given the opportunity to avail of the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program of the government. "With this, they can start a new life and can look forward to a better future with their families," he said.
"To those who are having second thoughts about surrendering, come down now. Trust your Army and the government for we are here to truly help you to have a better life compared to the life which you have right now" Criste added. (1Lt Miguel O. Borromeo, CMO Officer, 29IB, PA/PIA Agusan del Norte)