A prominent leader of the New People’s Army (NPA) and eight of his adherents on Wednesday surrendered to the 23rd Infantry Battalion (23IB) at the unit’s headquarters in Barangay Alubihid, Buenavista, Agusan del Norte.
The surrenderers are members of the defunct Guerrilla Front 4A (DGF-4A), North Central Mindanao Regional Committee of the NPA, armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), according to Lt. Col. Julius Cesar C. Paulo, 23IB commander.
Khim Agad Mapoy alias Patrick, DGF-4A’s front secretary, and his brother Loreto Agad Mapoy Jr. alias Arvin, the commanding officer of DGF-4A’s Platoon Joker, were among those that surrendered.
The other surrenderers from DGF-4A include Rolando A. Morata alias Pang, the political instructor of Platoon Diego of DGF-4A; Mary Chris S. Callanta alias Noem, the political guide of Squad Uno, Platoon Joker; Arlene Egom alias Joan, the medical officer of Squad Dos, Platoon Joker; Revoden C. Morata alias Denden/Sidlak, a member of Sandatahang Yunit Pamproparanda (SYP) Kingdom of DGF-4A; Rexdale C. Morata alias Rex, member of SYP Kingdom; Junrey Tinun-ogan alias Mikmik/Jovan, member of squad uno of Platoon Diego, DGF-4A; and Rowell P. Cardoniga alias Dennis, a member of SYP Kingdom.
The NPA surrenders also handed over to the 23IB three M16A1 rifles, one CZ550 sniper rifle, three .45 caliber pistols, one 9mm pistol and magazines with ammunition.
“They are the remnants of DGF-4A who are already tired of running and hiding due to our intensified focused military operations,” Paulo said.
He went on to say that the insurgents were also starving because most of their underground mass followers had abandoned links with the communist movement and swore allegiance to the government.
The DGF-4A was dismantled after suffering major losses in an engagement in August 2020 along the Agusan del Norte-Misamis Oriental border, where most of its key leaders and members were slain.
The front’s capabilities were further harmed by follow-up operations by the 23IB and a series of engagements, as well as the mass surrender of its underground followers in villages across the two provinces.
“Khim Agad Mapoy alias Patrick took over the front leadership after their secretary was killed, together with their key leaders in the Agusan del Norte-Misamis Oriental skirmish in August last year,” Paulo said.
He went on to say that, according to the surrenderers’ declarations, life inside the movement is now exceedingly tough because they have lost their mass support.
“The remnants of DGF-4A are affected by hunger and are already tired of evading as our troops who unrelentingly pursue them through the continued focused military operations. There is no other option left for them but to lay down their arms and return peacefully to their families and communities,” Paulo said.
The surrenderers were formally given to Maj. Gen. Andres Centino, the Philippine Army’s commanding general, and Maj. Gen. Romeo S. Brawner Jr., the 4th Infantry Division’s commander, on Wednesday.
Centino commended the surrender, which will result in the total dissolution of DGF-4A, allowing for further government participation in Agusan del Norte’s conflict-affected towns.
Paulo also thanked Centino for his encouragement and support for the troops of 23IB.
He told the Army head that the unit will continue to strive for excellence, complete the responsibilities assigned to it, and fight for victory in order to achieve long-term peace and development.
The United States, European Union, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand have all designated the CPP-NPA as a terrorist group.