186 NPA supporters yield in Leyte town: Philippines
CARIGARA, Leyte – A total of 186 supporters of the New People’s Army (NPA) from 10 villages of Carigara, Leyte surrendered to government authorities on Friday.
Among the surrenderers is 24-year-old Jonnel Anos, the lone NPA fighter among those who yielded.
Traumatized by clashes with soldiers in the outskirts of Hilongos, Leyte, and sleepless nights and hunger, Anos decided to return to his family in December 2018.
"We were told that the fight is for the welfare of the poor, but I realized that it's all about their propaganda," said Anos, of Canlampay village here.
The NPA persuaded him to join as a combatant when he was 20 years old in 2017.
The ceremony for the surrender of Anos and 185 NPA mass base supporters at the town gymnasium was witnessed by members of the regional and local Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (ELCAC).
Three of the surrenderers belonged to the NPA's Yunit Militia, 25 were underground mass organization members, and 157 were mass supporters.
As mass supporters, these residents served as contacts and couriers where they provide and facilitate the procurement and delivery of supplies, food, and medicines, said Capt. Kaharudin Cadil, spokesperson of Army's 802nd Infantry Brigade (802nd IB).
He said they also acted as the eyes and ears of the NPAs by monitoring the presence of government forces in the area and identifying possible targets for recruitment.
The mass supporters were also asked to join anti-government rallies in Tacloban City.
Between 2019 to 2020, NPA remnants have moved to the mountains of Carigara after soldiers cleared the infiltrated areas in Ormoc City and Kananga, Leyte.
"They have been deceiving people by organizing them into groups. They have been exploiting the poor in their plot to control the government," said Brig. Gen. Zosimo Oliveros, commander of the Philippine Army’s 802nd IB.
The Philippine Army lauded the different Barangay Task Force ELCAC in Carigara for helping the military in encouraging NPA allies to surrender.
The surrenderers are now members of the Carigara Integrated Peace and Development Workers Association.
Carigara is about 48 kilometers northwest of Tacloban, the regional capital. It is a 2nd class town with a population of over 51,000.
The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP)-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines.
The Anti-Terrorism Council also formally designated the National Democratic Front as a terrorist organization on June 23, 2021, citing it as “an integral and separate part” of the CPP-NPA that was created in April 1973