94 NPA supporters surrender to Army in Surigao Norte

SURIGAO CITY, Surigao del Norte, July 2 -- Following the surrender of four New People’s Army (NPA) leaders, a significant number of Underground Mass Organization (UGMO) members surrendered to the 30th Infantry “Python” Battalion at Barangay Sta Cruz, Placer, Surigao del Norte on June 27, 2019.

A total of 94 NPA supporters from different barangays of Surigao del Norte appeared before Lt. Col. Allen Raymund C. Tomas, commander of 30IB, with the intent to dissociate from the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) – NPA terrorist group.

Some 45 personalities out of the said 94 UGMO members came from Barangay Ima in Sison, which consists of indigenous peoples (IPs) and farmers while other UGMO members were from barangay Togbongon in Surigao City, Barangay Tolingin in Mainit and Barangay Mayag in Sison.

"These people were used and exploited by the CPP-NPA terrorists (CNTs). Cutting their ties will definitely degrade the NPAs capabilities and deter them from entering their guerilla base. While we continue the community support program (CSP) in CNT affected barangays, we are also expecting more UGMO members to surrender. Our combat operations will be no let-up against the terrorists so that communities will be free from CNT threats and violent atrocities," Tomas said.

UGMO is a group of people in a barangay organized by NPA to become their mass supporters, which vary from farmers sector or Pambangsang Katipunan ng Magsasaka, women sector or Malayang Kilusan ng Bagong Kababaihan, youth sector or Samahan ng Kabataang Makabayan, and IP sector or Rebolusyonaryong Organisasyong Lumad. They are the CNT's source of financial, material, and moral support to advance their armed struggle.

Col. Maurito L. Licudine, commander of the 402nd Infantry (Stingers) Brigade, said they are very happy that the NPA supporters heeded the call to withdraw their support to the CNTs.

“We are glad that they had finally decided go back to the folds of the law. Thus, we will now be able to facilitate the delivery of basic services in order to achieve peace and development in our area of operations. We are positive that more NPA members and supporters will follow the lead of their comrades and will chose to live a better and peaceful life,” Licudine said.

It can be recalled that last June 26, 2019, CARAGA launched the Regional Task Force in Ending Local Communist Armed Conflict (RTF-ELCAC) during the Joint Caraga Regional Development Council (RDC)-Regional Peace and Order Council (RPOC) Full Councils Meeting in Butuan City.

The launching was a milestone especially that the Task Force will lead, synchronize and harmonize government efforts of ending the local communist armed conflict in Caraga region through its banner program which is the Peace and Development Zone (PDZ).

MGen. Franco Nemesio M. Gacal, commander of the 4th Infantry Division, also emphasized in a positive note that with the launching of RTF-ELCAC and the full implementation of the PDZ in CARAGA backed with the CSP, more NPA members and supporters will return to the folds of law.

“We assure the people that by supporting the government we will be able to bring in sustained delivery of basic services and social development packages in poor, conflict affected and geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas. We call on all local government units (LGUs), local government agencies, and other stakeholders, especially to the peace-loving people of this region to continue to support the government, and together we will attain lasting, inclusive and sustainable peace and development,” Gacal said. (30IB, 402nd Infantry Brigade, Phil. Army/PIA-Surigao del Norte)



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