Lumads disarm 4 rebels

IN RESPONSE to the President’s call for Lumad communities to help the government in its fight against the New People’s Army (NPA), four members of the communist insurgents were disarmed by the Indigenous People (IP) after they tried to encroach their community in Davao del Norte.

Major Ezra Balagtey, Public Information Officer of Eastern Mindanao Command (Eastmincom), said that members of the IP community in Kapalong, Davao Del Norte disarmed four members of the NPA rebels who entered their community late afternoon of March 9. 

The disarmed NPA rebels were identified as Renard Catarata alias SM, Tata, Ariel. He is also known as the Commander of the NPA. Aside from him are alias Yumi, alias Kid and alias Alex were disarmed.

Several high-powered firearms were recovered from them including 1-M4 with SN: 413706, 1-M653 with SN: 146893, 3-M16 with SN: 522868, 197321, 21423. Balagtey said that after the incident, the NPAs fled towards a different direction.

“The community assisted by their tribal leaders turned over the firearms to Sergeant Henry Himtog of Kapatagan Detachment at Sitio Kapatagan, Brgy Gupitan, Kapalong, Davao del Norte,” he said.

Meanwhile, on March 10, 17 members of the Milisyang Bayan and one regular NPA member identified as alias Don surrendered to government troops.

They were encouraged to surrender because of President Rodrigo Duterte’s pronouncements to give P20,000 for every slain NPA terrorist.

Lieutenant Colonel Gilbert Ombos, Commander of 60th Infantry Battalion cited the community's efforts to stop violence and coercion against their members. He also reiterated the willingness of the unit to assist surrenderers.

He also said that they will continue their focused military operations to hunt down other members of the NPA who are still active in the movement.

"We appreciate the effort of the community, this should drive a message to the NPAs that they are not welcome in the communities. We want to reiterate that rebels who willfully return to the folds of the law shall be given assistance and help will be made available to those who would surrender. But for those who will insist to continue using violence to instill fear on the community cannot forever run away from the long arm of the law,” Ombos said.