The Armed Forces of the Philippines has claimed that more than 4,000 communist rebels and sympathisers have surrendered this year.
The AFP said today (Thursday, March 22) that 4,356 New People’s Army (NPA) guerrillas and supporters had raised the white flag between January 1 and Thursday last week.
A total of 626 were either NPA regulars or Sangay sa Partido Lokal members, while the remaining 3,730 were either members or supporters of the Militia ng Bayan and other underground mass organisations.
The vast majority — 96 per cent, or 4,194 of the total — were recorded in Eastern Mindanao, particularly in the Davao and Caraga regions.
This includes 1,265 NPA supporters who were residents of nine barangays of Monkayo town, Compostela Valley, on March 7 and the recent defection of 115 supporters in Trento, Agusan del Sur.
The AFP says the rate of communist rebels surrendering has been increasing over recent months. An official statement added that more are expected as “former rebels and supporters divulge corruption and deception inside the CPP-NPA”.
“Revelations from former rebels disclosed that most of them were deceived into believing the propaganda and false promises of their leaders,” the AFP said.
“The former rebels warn would-be recruits not to fall on the pattern of deception being done by the NPA terrorists and call on their former comrades to take the peaceful path to change.”
Meanwhile, military operations against the NPA are continuing. On Monday, the Army’s 46th Infantry Battalion captured six suspected guerrillas in Mabini, Compostela Valley Province.
Commanding general Major General Noel Clement said: “Our forces are able to locate their location/position since information gathering efforts have been intensified. It’s not too late for them to surrender now.
“The people in the community are now more aware of the deceptions. Many of the NPA supporters/victims have withdrawn their support to the terrorists as observed in the past months.”