Secretary Hermogenes C. Esperon, Jr., National Security Adviser and Cabinet Officer for Regional Development and Security (CORDS) for Region 1, together with Major General Lenard T. Agustin, the commander of the army’s 7th Infantry Division (7ID), made the announcement during the 3rd executive meeting of the Joint Regional Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (RTF1 – ELCAC) held at Diego Silang Hall, Provincial Capitol, City of San Fernando, La Union on Thursday, Nov. 7.
“I’m proud to announce the snowballing on mass surrender of NPA rebels and supporters in Regions 3,” said Esperon.
“We are expecting more surrenderees in Regions 1 and 3 as we continue the implementation of the programs for the whole of nation approach to end the local communist armed conflict (ELCAC),” he added.
On the other hand, Agustin said the mass surrender of the NPA rebels and supporters in Nueva Ecija and Aurora was considered as the biggest accomplishment of their unit in a single day since the start of the ELCAC campaign.
At around 5:00 AM on Wednesday, a total of 53 rebel supporters from Sitios Lising and Pandayan of Barangay Capintalan, and Sitio Malihdi of Barangay Minuli, both in the town of Carranglan, Nueva Ecija, yielded to the soldiers belonging to the army’s 84th Infantry Battalion.
Eight hours later, Agustin said that another 24 members of the Milisyang Bayan and other mass base supporters of the rebels were surrendered to the operatives of the army’s 91st Infantry Battalion and 3rd Civil-Military Operations Company at Barangay Dimanayat in San Luis, Aurora.
The village officials facilitated the mass surrender following the army’s fruitful negotiation.
The surrenderees were reportedly members of the “Sangay ng Partido sa Localidad” and “Yunit Milisyang Bayan,” the mass base units of the NPA rebels’ supporters in the towns.
“The army is working together with other government agencies to induce NPA members and supporters to go back to the folds of the law,” Agustin said.
Meanwhile, Secretary Esperon lauded the efforts of the army and the other government agencies on their successful negotiation convincing the NPA supporters to surrender.
Presiding over the executive meeting, Esperson said that such accomplishment achieved on encouraging the NPA rebels and their supporters to surrender to the government is an output of the aggressive implementation of the ELCAC programs of President Rodrigo Duterte. (JCR/FGL, PIA 1)
By Freddie G. Lazaro