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3 Reds surrender in Soccsksargen



The campaign against the New People’s Army (NPA) continued to gain ground in Mindanao as three more rebels surrendered to the military in the past two days.

Capt. Jerry Lamosao, the Army's 10th Infantry Division (ID) spokesperson, said Saturday three NPA members in Region 12 (Soccsksargen) abandoned the Communist armed group and brought with them their firearms.

On Saturday, two NPA members operating in South Cotabato gave themselves up to troops of the 27th Infantry Battalion (IB) in Barangay Upper Sepaka, Surallah, South Cotabato.

Goyo Lagal Pandatu, 27, married and a resident of Barangay Moloy, Surallah, South Cotabato and Toto Lumbay Sore alias Toto, 32, married and a resident of Barangay Upper Sepaka, also in Surallah, surrendered with their firearms -- an M16 rifle, an improvised M79 rifle and a Caliber .45 Thompson sub-machine gun.

Last Friday, the 73rd IB received Boy Cabisa Diale, alias Busaw, in Barangay Upper Suyan, Malapatan, Sarangani province.

Capt. Mc Gary Dida, the civil-military operations officer of the 1002nd IB, said Diale, 75, married and a resident of Sitio Lino, Barangay Upper Suyan also surrendered his M16 (Bushmaster) rifle to troops of the 73rd IB.

Pandatu, Sore and Diale had told the military in an interview that they left the NPA because they were tired of being on the run due to the continued military operation against the armed group and the fear of an encounter with government troops.

Their surrender followed a series of encounters between government security forces and the NPA in T’boli, South Cotabato and Maasim, Sarangani that resulted in the apprehension of one NPA terrorist, and the recovery of four high-powered firearms.

“We will keep on intensifying our efforts in security operations, Community Support Programs, information gathering and collaboration with our stakeholders to further our gains and preempt possible atrocities planned by the NPA terrorists," said Lt. Col. Jones Brisal Otida, commander of the 27th IB.

Pandatu, Sore and Diale are the latest surrenderers in the list of the 10th ID.

Lamosao said 333 members of the NPA; 529 members of the Militia ng Bayan; 212 members of the Sangay ng Partido sa Localidad; 5,407 NPA supporters; and 11 members of left-leaning groups have surrendered from January to May 31.

Over the same period, Lamosao said, the military has also recorded 173 firearms surrendered and 114 recovered from military operations, along with 141 improvised explosive devices recovered.

He further said that the military has arrested 24 NPA members, including top leader Elizalde Cañete alias Jinggoy, who is currently detained at the Davao City Jail.

Dida said the latest surrenderers will be presented to the local governments of South Cotabato and Sarangani so they could be given immediate assistance and enrolled in the Comprehensive Local Integration Program. There will also be additional cash assistance for their surrendered firearms.

Major Gen. Noel S. Clement, commander of the 10th ID, assured that the military will continue to be steadfast in putting the NPA in a state where it can no longer influence people in communities where the 10th ID is operating.

Clement vowed that the 10th ID will continue to intensify its security operation and collaboration with stakeholders to protect and secure the people. (PNA)

Lilian Mellejor / PNA