3 NPAs surrender after encounter, intensified peace effort gaining

Three New People’s Army rebels, who were among the group who figured in a skirmish with the elements of the 73rd Infantry Battalion on February 16, 2015 in Alabel Saranggani Province, voluntarily surrendered without firearms to Lt Col Ronnie Babac, Commander of 73rd Infantry Battalion.

A certain Arnold Sawal Budiong @ MARK, a Vice Squad Leader, turned himself in, in the morning of Feb 18, 2015; while Bedeo A Ansay @ RIK-RIK, an element of the NPA group, turned himself in, in the late afternoon of the same day.

Through the intervention of a concerned civilian, a 19 year-old Joey L Tamba @ LOUIE, one of the Team Leaders of the NPA bandits, turned himself in on February 19, 2015 at about 2 p.m.

Accordingly, the three decided to surrender because of the relentless pursuit operations being conducted by 73rd IB, putting them always on the run.

Lt General Aurelio Baladad, Commander of the Eastern Mindanao Command reiterates his call to NPA bandits to surrender.

“We are calling on our deceived brothers who are still with the NPA to lay down your firearms and live peaceful lives. You may approach your local executives like your mayors, who can assist in facilitating your surrender and start a new life.” Baladad said.

Meanwhile, the surrenderees will be enrolled in the Sarangani Province Comprehensive Localized Integration Program (CLIP) as part of the effort to reintegrate them into mainstream society.

On the other hand, Lt General Baladad vowed to continue to intensify the efforts to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the people in Eastmincom AOR.

“Our effort to bring peace in our community will continue to be our focus and this will always be done in partnership with the different stakeholders.” Baladad said.

“With the support of the stakeholders, our peace and security efforts for this early part of the year have gained significant results. We have encountered the NPAs 27 times, that led to the capture of 31 firearms and 13 NPAs killed. We also displaced them in their 27 encampments. We have welcomed the surrender of 17 NPAs and their eight firearms. For our non-military role, we are facilitating the implementation of PAMANA projects in the remote areas of the AOR.  Together with our partners, we conducted 26 medical missions that benefited over 4,000 marginalized patients. Our livelihood projects and cooperative organizing in the barangays are also continuously being implemented by our Bayanihan Teams.” Baladad reported.

He also added that “with genuine bayanihan, the attainment of lasting peace becomes a reality rather than just a dream.”

(Press Release from EASTMINCOM PIO)

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