Military officials confirm that another member of the New People’s Army (NPA) has surrendered in Surigao del Sur on October 20. The surrendered reportedly worked as a ‘messenger’ for the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines.
Lieutenant Colonel Xerxes Trinidad, commander of the Army’s 36th Infantry “Valor” Battalion (36IB), reports the identity of the surrenderer as 21-year-old Jolimar “Reno” Albas. Albas is a resident of Barangay Bituagan, in San Miguel town.
As part of his surrender, Albas presented to the 36IB a shotgun with serial number 744336. Albas claimed to be a member of the “Sandatahang Yunit Pampropaganda-Interior (SYP-I), SRC 2130 of the North Eastern Mindanao Regional Committee (NEMRC).”
In military interviews following his surrender, Albas claimed to have laid low from insurgent activities in recent months, instead participating as a messenger for the rebel group, relaying communication between different barangays in the town.
Albas said he joined the terrorist organization because of his fondness for firearms and claims he was deceived by false promises that the group would support him.
Abas’ surrender was facilitated by another former rebel, who convinced him to avail of the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP), a government integration and intervention program meant to facilitate the transition of ex-insurgents away from radicalism.
President Duterte has also encourages NPA and CPP members to approach local government units to begin localized peace talks, following the termination of negotiations with CPP founder Joma Sison earlier this year.
Trinidad said that the strength of rebel forces in Surigao del Sur continues to weaken and the insurgency is “losing its mass support in the communities”, especially following the loss of members considered the “lifeblood” of the communist rebellion.
“The growing sentiment of the surrenderers and the shift of support is due to the miserable life they experience being inside the organization (NPA) and the realization of neglecting their family just because of a failed cause without direction,” said Trinidad.
A NPA bomb-maker surrendered earlier this year, also in Surigao del Sur.