10 NPAs surrender in Bukidnon, admit to ‘revolutionary tax’ collection

ARMY and civilian local executives inspect the military-type firearms turned in by 10 members of the New People’s Army before they pledged allegiance to the government in a simple rite in Maramag, Bukidnon on Tuesday. — PHILIPPINE STAR/JOHN FELIX M. UNSON

COTABATO CITY — Ten members of the New People’s Army (NPA) from a group that forcibly collected money from hapless farmers and merchants turned in 18 assorted firearms and explosives and pledged allegiance to the government in Maramag, Bukidnon on Tuesday.

Berno S. Sinunta, Muloy B. Donat, Manilyn D. Ampildon, Sabel F. Buyo, Pus-ok T. Salubo, Edo K. Madado, Leonilo B. Cañadilla, Sibya L. Gamot, Poto A. Bay-ao and Warlito T. Ebudan, all from local indigenous tribes, agreed to surrender through the backchannel intercession of officials of the Army’s 48th Infantry Battalion of the 1003rd Infantry Brigade and local executives in different towns of Bukidnon province.

The symbolic rite was held at the 48th IB’s battalion command post in Maramag, a highland municipality of the province in Mindanao.

“Obviously, it is via multi-sector cooperation that we can better nip this problem at the bud. I am calling on the few remaining members of this communist terrorist group to return to the fold of law now and thrive peacefully in their respective hometowns,” Major General Allan D. Hambala, commander of the 10th Infantry Battalion, told reporters on Wednesday.

The 10 NPA rebels who surrendered on Tuesday had confessed to their having forcibly collected monthly “revolutionary taxes” on the order of leaders of the terrorist group’s Sentro de Grabidad-North Central Mindanao Regional Command in Region 10. — John Felix M. Unson