4 NPA 'arsonists' surrender to 6th ID

John Unson - Philstar.com
4 NPA 'arsonists' surrender to 6th ID
The four former guerillas each received initial food supplies and cash from the local government unit of Palimbang on Nov. 13, 2023.
Philstar.com / John Unson

COTABATO CITY — Four confessed arsonists of the New People’s Army, a group that the police, military and local government units had tagged in the burning of some P50 million worth of equipment of different construction firms since 2015, surrendered on Monday and pledged allegiance to the government.

The four NPAs, Pedro Modondoh, Elias Kedew, Jonas Mansid and Manolo Batitao, all with mixed ethnic Teduray and Dulangan-Manobo ancestry, promised to reform for good in the presence of the chief of the Western Mindanao Command, Lt. Gen. William Gonzales, during a simple surrender rite at the headquarters of the 603rd Infantry Brigade in Barangay Milbuk in Palimbang town in Sultan Kudarat.

They turned in two M14 and two M16 assault rifles as they renounced their NPA membership before Gonzales, in the presence of Major Gen. Alex Rillera, commander of the 6th Infantry Division, and Brig. Gen. Michael Santos of the 603nd Infantry Brigade.

“We ought to thank the 6th Infantry Division, the 603rd Infantry Brigade and the local government unit of Palimbang for having worked out the surrender of these four former guerillas who have realized that life is better out there, with their families,” Gonzales said.

The four tribesmen also assured the three Army officials to convince their few remaining hardcore companions to yield and avail of the government’s Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program, or E-CLIP, for members of NPA, now most known as communist terrorist group in police and military parlance.

All four of them had confessed to having participated in the burning, in one arson attack after another since 2015, of dozens of heavy equipment of construction firms in Sultan Kudarat, South Cotabato and Sarangani provinces after owners had refused to pay “protection money” on a monthly basis.

They each received initial food supplies and monetary assistance from Palimbang Mayor Joenime Kapina, chairperson of the municipal peace and order council helping the 6th ID and its units secure the surrender of NPA members in the municipality via backchannel dialogues.

The 6th ID and its component-brigades and battalions had worked out the surrender of 356 NPAs since 2020.

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