A squad leader of the New People’s Army (NPA) operating in the southern part of Panay surrendered to the police Tuesday night due to hardships living in the mountain and his traumatic experience during a military operation in their hideout last December 1.
Col. Gilbert Gorero, Director of the Iloilo Police Provincial Office (IPPO), on Wednesday, identified the surrenderer as 36-year old alias “Banban”/”Tatang” of Barangay Bikil, Tubungan, Iloilo, and former team leader of Squad 1 of the Mt. Napulak Command of the Southern Front Committee of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP)-NPA.
The squad’s areas of operation cover the portions of Miagao, San Joaquin, and Igbaras in Iloilo Province and Antique.
“He was one of those CTG (communist terrorist group) that was the subject of a military operation in Miagao, Iloilo on December 1. It was a very traumatic experience he said and he wanted to have a safe and peaceful life,” Gorero said.
After that operation, the surrenderer joined other NPA members who went into hiding but decided to leave the armed movement on Dec. 29, 2021, almost six years since he left his home to be part of the terrorist group.
Gorero said “Tatang” worked as a farm laborer and was exposed to the NPA movement by attending a caucus. He was attracted by the promise to have a better life “should they win in their cause”.
However, for all the years that he was in the movement, “Tatang” felt nothing but fear which was heightened by the December 1 military operation.
The surrender on January 4 was facilitated by several civilians, Gorero added.
“It was his own decision. He also would like to avail of the opportunity that is being offered by the government under Executive Order No. 70 (Whole of the Nation Approach) like the ECLIP (Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program),” the police official said.
“We are looking forward that he could convince the others to surrender. His surrender is a manifestation indeed that the government is serious in providing a better future for our people, especially the former rebels,” Gorero added.
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.
The Anti-Terrorism Council also formally designated the National Democratic Front as a terrorist organization on June 23, 2021, citing it as “an integral and separate part” of the CPP-NPA that was created in April 1973.
Source: Philippines News Agency