CAMP EVANGELISTA, Cagayan de Oro City – A few days after President Rodrigo Duterte’s call for remaining communist terrorists to surrender, two high-ranking leaders and five members of the New People’s Army (NPA) on March 9 laid down their weapons to the 403rd Infantry Brigade in Barangay Manalog, Malaybalay City, Bukidnon.
Brigadier General Ferdinand T Barandon, commander of the Army’s 403rd Brigade, identified the two high-ranking NPA leaders as Armando Daluniag alias Ambo/Satur/Pegan/Dario, Roland Lagunday alias Ben, and five other group members.
Daluniag , who is former deputy secretary of NPA’s Guerilla Front 89, is the commanding officer of the Headquarters Force (HQF) Neo, Northern Central Mindanao Regional Committee (NCMRC), while Lagunday is the leader of Squad 2, Platoon 2, HQF Neo, NCMRC.
The rebels surrendered 11 high-powered firearms composed of four M16 rifles, three AK47 rifles, two M653 rifles, one M230 grenade launcher, and one M14 rifle.
Daluniag said they grew tired of the communist movement because of failed promises and regret that even their families’ welfare was neglected.
“Ang hinungdan nganong nibalik ko kay ang kalihukan ang pasalig nila sa una dili na mao karon. Walay natabang nga maayo sa akong pamilya. Ang panawagan nako sa mga kauban nga gibiyaan namo, kadtong mga naa may mga panghuna-huna muhawa na pud diha. (I surrendered due to the unfulfilled promises of the movement and it did not do good to my family. I call on our fellow rebels to leave the armed group. Daluniag said.
He said it is not true that the military will torture communists who return to the fold of the law.
“Dili mana tinuod nga i-torture ta kung munaog ta, kay sa karon gi-ayo man mi og entertain sa kasundalohan, wala man mi hilabti (It is not true that we will be tortured once we surrender. In our case, we were entertained properly by the soldiers),” he added.
Barandon said the surrender of the seven NPA guerillas is the result of government agencies’ cooperation in achieving the goals of Executive Order No. 70 that created the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict.
Meanwhile, Major General Andres Centino, 4th Infantry Division commander, said the NPA leaders’ surrender is a response to the call of President Duterte for the remnants of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) – NPA to surrender.
“We expect that more NPAs will follow their leaders by heeding the call of the President to return to the fold of the government. Parang magkakaroon ng domino effect yan kung makita ng mga kasamahan nila na nagsibabaan na yung mga ilang members of the group, it would definitely have an effect dun din sa moral nung naiiwan pa (The surrender will have a domino effect on the remaining members),” he added.
Duterte, in his March 5 visit to Cagayan de Oro City communists that the government will provide all the necessary assistance such as livelihood, skills training, and housing, to those who will return to the government fold.
Centino assured that the surrenderers, who are now under the custody of the 403rd Brigade, will be provided with all the benefits promised by the President under the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (ECLIP) for a better future with their families.
The CPP- NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines. (PNA)