An NPA guerilla belonging to Front 3 operating in the borders of Agusan del Sur and Compostela Valley, surrenders his firearm to Lt. Col. Jaime Datuin of the 75th Infantry Battalion while Brig. Gen. Andrew Centino, commander of the 401st Brigade looks on. Photo by Chris Panganiban
PROSPERIDAD, Agusan del Sur--At least 19 communist guerrillas including three commanders that comprise the entire unit of Guerilla Front 3 operating in the boundaries of this province and Compostela Valley have yielded along with their 14 firearms to the military yesterday on the eve of the 50th anniversary of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New Peoples Army.
Brig. Gen. Andres Centino ,commander of the 401st Brigade based here, formally presented the former rebels before the local media during a press conference yesterday at the Datu Lipus Makapandong Headquarters.
“It’s significant that today the CPP celebrated their 50th anniversary when the whole unit of a guerrilla front headed the call of the government for peace.For so long, they have been promise of good life and they were frustrated,”Centino said.
He said this is the first time in many years that a homogenous NPA front came together to lay down their arms and return to the folds of law.
He explained the surrender of the NPA rebels is not intentional with the perfect timing of the CPP’s golden anniversary and a recoup of the 401st Brigade setback last week when 13 militiamen and two soldiers were abducted by the rebels in the hinterland village of New Tubigon in Sibagat town.
“Ït’s just so happened. This is incidental. This was the result of the negotiations even before the abduction incident,”Centino said.
The negotiations which started from Ka Boss, commander of Front 3, were jointly initiated by Lt. Col. Jaime Datuin of the 75th Infantry Battalion and Lt. Col. Romeo Jimenea of the 26th Infantry Battalion. The surrenderees include two young female and a child guerrilla.
Ka Bos brought with him his sub-unit leader alias SK who is commander of Platoon Basil and alias Sniper, commander of Platoon Andoy.
They also surrendered assorted firearms including three M-16 Armalite rifles, 3 M-16 Bushmaster rifles, 1 M653 rifle with scope, 1 M14 rifle, 1 M203 Grenade Launcher, 1 Carbine rifle, 3 caliber 45 Colt, 1 caliber .38 pistol, 1 hand grenade, 1 rifle grenade, 2 commercial had held icom radios and more than 1,300 ammunitions.
Ka Boss said he decided to surrender because of the hardships he experienced being always on the run and the sadness always being away from his family. He had been a guerrilla leader for 10 years and was a farmer in Loreto town before he joined the armed struggle.
“There has been no progress in our lives instead of hunger and being tired. I can no longer bear not seeing my family for a longer time,”Ka Boss said.
Asked by INQUIRER about the demands of the NPA central command that they will release the captives militiamen and soldiers if the Army will stop the military operations in the provinces of Caraga region, Centino said the operation will continue in full force without any condition.
“Were just following orders from our higher headquarters to pursue the full military operations,”Centino said.