Thursday Feb, 22 2024 12:33:21 PM

6th ID expecting surrender of more NPAs next year

Mindanao Peace Process • 18:15 PM Tue Dec 20, 2022
John M. Unson
 The 6th Infantry Division Headquarters in  Maguindanao del Norte. (John Unson)

COTABATO CITY --- The military is expecting the surrender in 2023 of no fewer than a hundred more New People’s Army guerillas from across central Mindanao.

Commanders of brigades and battalions under the Army’s 6th Infantry Division said Tuesday they have been receiving surrender feelers since last week from NPAs in South Cotabato, North Cotabato, Sarangani and Sultan Kudarat provinces, for them an indication that more from the group are to return to the fold of law soon.

Units of 6th ID had secured via backchannel efforts, along with local officials, the surrender of 154 NPAs from January to December 15, 2022.

The latest to bolt from the NPA in central Mindanao were 36 members from the adjoining Maitum, Maasim and Kiamba towns in Sarangani.

They pledged allegiance to the government before 6th ID’s commander, Major Gen. Roy Galido, and Gov. Ruel Pacquiao during a simple rite last December 15 at the headquarters of the Army’s 38th Infantry Battalion in Maasim.

Galido said Pacquiao, chairperson of the Sarangani provincial peace and order council, helped convince the 36 NPAs to yield to the 38th IB and turn their firearms in.

Personnel of different 6th ID units had killed 21 NPAs in encounters in different towns from between January to early December this year.

More than 30 of the 154 NPAs who surrendered to units of 6th ID in the past 11 months were well-versed in fabrication of IEDs using easy to obtain components and either ammonium nitrate, or potassium chlorate, as blasting powders.

A number of them had also confessed to reporters their involvement in the collection of monthly “protection money” from merchants and farmers in hinterland towns.

“It was with the help of local government units in our AOR (area of responsibility) that the 6th ID had worked out the surrender of more than a hundred NPAs for this year alone,” Galido said. 

Galido said he and his subordinate-officers are now looking forward to the surrender of no less than  a hundred NPAs in central Mindanao in 2023.

Galido said he is certain that it was the good treatment the 6th ID extended to NPAs reintroduced to mainstream communities in recent months that helped convince the rebels now planning to surrender that the division is sincere in dealing with enemies of state wishing to reform for good.

The 6th ID had also worked out the surrender in batches since 2017 of 416 members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters and its allies, the equally notorious Dawlah Islamiya and Al-khobar.

The three groups, fomenting hatred for non-Muslims, are tagged in all deadly bombings in central Mindanao since 2014. 


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