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11 NPA yield in Mindanao

The military said that 11 New People’s Army rebels surrendered to the Philippine Army in Sultan Kudarat yesterday.

Lt. Col. Harold Cabunoc, commander of the Army 33rd Infantry Battalion, said they surrendered in Midtungok, Sen. Ninoy Aquino, Sultan Kudarat, at 10 a.m. and turned over eight high-powered firearms.

1st Lt. John Austin Jamora, commanding officer of the Alpha Company, 33rd Infantry Battalion, identified them as Ayob Mopac, Benjamin Kalay, Samuel Badak, Mel Pandi, Kang Mopac, Tiin Mooac, Usad Mopac, Long Oding, Sebio Masandag, Gabriel Mopac, and Nonoy Lapi.

He said that all of them are Manobo tribe members in Midtungok.

Col. Bismarck Soliba, commander of the 1st Mechanized Infantry Brigade, said that the NPA in Sultan Kudarat is losing members due to demoralization in their ranks.

“The lumads are disgruntled over the unfulfilled promises of the NPA leaders. The members are dying in the encounters but the ‘supamil’ (family support) for their followers was not provided,” Soliba said.

Maj. Gen. Arnel dela Vega, commander of the 6th Infantry Division, commended the units involved in the surrender negotiations.

“This is a combined effort of the 33rd Infantry Battalion and the 57th Infantry Battalion under Lt. Col. Enrique Clemente. The surrender of NPA members reflect the waning influence of the communist movement in the countryside,” Dela Vega said. (Francis T. Wakefield)