9 NPA rebels surrender in Masbate town
By Juan Escandor Jr. NAGA CITY --- Nineteen New People’s Army (NPA) rebels have surrendered to the Army’s 2nd Infantry Battalion in Milagros town last week, according to a military officer in a phone interview yesterday morning, June 14. Lt. John Garcia, assigned to the operations of the 903rd Infantry Brigade, said the NPA rebels voluntarily came to the camp to surrender and are now under the custody of the military. Brig. Gen. Fernando Trinidad, commander of the 903rd IB, said the 19 NPA rebels came from the second district of Masbate and they are now under interrogation which will take days to finish. Trinidad said the NPA rebels turned over uniforms and combat boots, five M16 rifles, a .45-caliber pistol and rounds of ammunitions. He said the name of the NPA rebels are withheld for confidential and security reasons. Trinidad said the surrender weakens the NPA rebels operating in the second district of Masbate which allows the military to focus in other parts of the island province. The surrender of 19 NPA rebels was the second time this year. In February, five NPA rebels also surrendered to the military as they turned over an M14 and M16 rifle each, one M1 carbine, one .45-caliber pistol and one .38-caliber pistol. The NPA rebels also surrendered themselves to the 2nd IB in Milagros town. Major Gil Perez, spokesperson of the Southern Luzon Command in Lucena City, said the NPA rebels surrendered because of continuous offensive military operations. Also in February, the NPA rebels lost four of their comrades who were killed in the clash with the Army soldiers. In a 20-minute firefight between the Army soldiers and the NPA rebels in Barangay Pangle in Aroroy town, the security forces did not only kill four NPA rebels but recovered two M14 and two M16 rifles and an M230 grenade rifle.