A high-ranking member of the New People’s Army (NPA) surrendered to the military in the province of Zamboanga del Norte due to exhaustion, starvation, and lack of sleep.
After surrendering to the combined troops of the 97th Infantry Battalion (97IB) and the 42nd Infantry Battalion (42IB) in Sitio Tungilawan, Barangay Bagumbayan in the town of Sergio Osmea Sr., the former rebel known as ‘Ka Arnel’ made this confession.
He is the squad leader and logistics officer of the NPA’s Western Mindanao Regional Party Committee’s Squad 2, Guerrilla Front BBC (WMRPC).
He surrendered an M16 assault rifle, an M635 assault rifle, and a Berretta 9mm handgun loaded with ammo.
He detailed the difficulties he had while still a member of the communist terrorist group, as well as the lies instilled in him by their superiors.
“I was tired, there’s not enough food to eat, and I didn’t get enough sleep, so I decided to surrender because I realized there’s no use of fighting with the NPA. I thought the soldiers will kill me, but I was wrong. The soldiers helped me when I surrendered. What our group told us are all lies. To all my comrades, surrender now because the government is here to help you,” he said in the vernacular.
97IB is presently holding him for custodial debriefing and medical treatment.
On Wednesday, 97IB commander Lt. Col. Manaros Boransing emphasized that soldiers respect life above all else, and that each life rescued from communist terrorists’ brutal influence is a life committed to peace and prosperity in Zamboanga del Norte.
The commander of the 1st Infantry Division, Maj. Gen. Generoso Ponio, also told communist NPA terrorists who wish to surrender that their safety and well-being will be prioritized.
“Lay down your arms and return to the comfort of your families and friends. We will ensure your safety and well-being when you lay down your arms and will assist you in your reintegration to normal living,” Ponio said.
He will be approved to participate in the government’s Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP), which provides reintegration and livelihood aid to former rebels.
For each firearm he surrendered, he will receive firearms compensation aid.
The United States, European Union, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines have all designated the Communist Party of the Philippines-NPA as a terrorist group.