GENERAL SANTOS CITY — Two alleged leaders of the New People’s Army (NPA) were arrested while six other rebels and sympathizers surrendered in joint police and military operations in Sarangani and South Cotabato provinces.
Lt. Col. Lino Capellan, spokesperson of the Police Regional Office (PRO)-12, said Wednesday NPA leaders Ngo Magaw and Bwen Malantaw were nabbed in a manhunt operation around 6 a.m. Tuesday in Barangay Batian in Maitum, Sarangani.
Capellan said Magaw was a team leader of the Segunda-Platoon Samsung and Malantaw of Platoon Primera, both under the Guerilla Front 73-Musa of the NPA’s Far South Mindanao Region.
Capellan said the two were arrested by elements from the PRO-12, Sarangani Police Provincial Office and the Army’s 27th Infantry Battalion based on a standing warrant of arrest in connection with the murder of a Pastor Jun Sebastian in Barangay Kalaneg, Maitum on Dec. 15 last year.
“They were tagged by witnesses as directly responsible for the killing of Sebastian,” the police official said in a report.
Capellan said the investigation is ongoing on the involvement of the suspects, who are currently in the custody of the Regional Intelligence Unit (RIU)-12, in other previous atrocities in the area.
In South Cotabato, Capellan said four NPA cadres and two members of its “white area committee” surrendered around 5 a.m. last Monday in Sitio Tibuyong, Barangay Lamfugon in Lake Sebu town.
He said the six decided to yield following a series of negotiations by RIU-12 personnel, in coordination with the provincial government of South Cotabato.
The two “white area committee” members, who were identified as aliases “Pam” and “Lucy,” served as organizers and teachers of a defunct school for indigenous peoples operated by the Center for Lumad Advocacy Networking Services, which is reportedly allied with the NPA.
Capellan said the four other surrenderers — identified as aliases “Fanok,” “John Mark,” “John John” and “Marjun” — were former members of Platoons Samsung and Primera of the Front 73.
He said they gave up two hand grenades, a caliber .45 pistol loaded with six bullets, and a caliber .38 revolver.
In a statement, Brig. Gen. Alfred Corpus, PRO-12 director, said they expect more NPA rebels to surrender in the coming months.
Corpus said intelligence operations and support activities are ongoing in line with the implementation of President Rodrigo Duterte’s Executive Order No. 70, which seeks to “end the communist local armed conflict” through convergence efforts of government agencies under the “whole-of-nation approach.”
Since he assumed as PRO-12 director last year, Corpus said a total of 110 NPA rebels surrendered, arrested, or “neutralized.”
“This number shows the extent of the commitment of PRO-12 to end the atrocities of these communist terrorists. I hope that those who were deceived and swayed to join them will see the light in the government’s efforts and go back to the folds of law,” he added. ~PNA
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