Lumads dis­arm 4 rebels

Sun.Star Davao - - TOP STORIES - By Juliet C. Re­vita

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 dif­fer­ent di­rec­tion.

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

Mean­while, on March 10, 17 mem­bers of the Mili­tiang Bayan and one reg­u­lar NPA mem­ber iden­ti­fied as alias Don yielded to the gov­ern­ment troop­ers. 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.

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