By Mike U. Crismundo
Camp Bancasi, Butuan City – A supply officer, three squad leaders and a medical officer of the New People’s Army (NPA) surrendered to the Army’s 25th Infantry (Fireball) Battallion (25th IB) during their weeklong peace and development activities in their areas of responsibility (AOR) in the provincial boarder of Agusan del Sur and Compostela Valley (ComVal), said 25th IB Civil Military Operations (CMO) officer Capt. Alan Bapara, on Monday.
Sixteen members of NPA Solid Mass Organization (SMO) also yielded without firearms to the operating troops of the 25th IB during the peace and development activities that started on January 20, Bapara said in a statement sent to The Manila Bulletin.
He said the five NPA officers who yielded to their unit belonged to the Pulang Bagani Command 8-SRC 1, SDG Section 3-SRC 4 guerilla-Front Committee 15 of the CPP-NPA Southern Mindanao Regional Committee (SMRC).
The identities of the 3 squad leaders and supply officer from Sta. Emelia, Veruela, Agusan del Sur and medical officer from Purok 7, Barangay Salvacion, Monkayo, Comval province, were temporarily withheld for security reason, the 25th IB CMO officer said.
Their surrender was facilitated by the local leaders, particularly the local government units (LGUs), and barangay and purok leaders.
“Their voluntary surrender was due to the experienced hardships, homesick, fear of death and most of all the realization of the futility of their cause in the organization,” also said 25th IB Commander Lt. Col. Oscar B. Balignasay Jr., in the same press statement sent to the Manila Bulletin.
“They also felt the pressure of our relentless combat operations, conducted by all field units of the Army’s 10th Infantry (Agila) Division (10th ID) and social pressure from the contagious Community Support Program (CSP) and Peace and Development Program (PDP),” claimed the 25th IB commander, as he acknowledged the untiring support of the local populace, civil society organizations, local government units/agencies and other stakeholders in their Area of Responsibility (AOR).
“The answer for the call to surrender by the President (Rodrigo Roa Dutere) for the NPAs has already gained grounds with the untiring efforts of the all stakeholders for peace in the nation,” Balignasay said.
He added that the 10th ID encouraged all people in the area to spread the words of surrender for peace to the NPA brothers and sisters, their families and love ones.
“Our forces will continue to pursue peace and development efforts in the area of responsibility (AOR) through Focus Military Operations (FMO), Community Support Program (CSP), information gathering efforts and collaboration with all stakeholders in 10th ID AOR.