NPA rebel surrenders in Bukidnon

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 9, 2019): NPA rebel surrenders in Bukidnon

NPA SURRENDERER. Former New People’s Army combatant Ryan Acuman, 22, yields with his firearm to the Army’s 1st Special Forces Battalion on Friday in Barangay Ticalaan, Talakag town, Bukidnon province. Acuman says he no longer wants to associate himself with the communist rebels’ atrocities in the province. (Contributed photo)

MANOLO FORTICH, Bukidnon – A 22-year-old member of the communist New People’s Army (NPA) surrendered to the Army’s Special Forces (SF) in Talakag town, Bukidnon on Friday.

The surrenderer, Ryan Acuman, yielded to the 1st SF Battalion at around 3 p.m. in Barangay Ticalaan, Talakag.

Acuman claimed that he was a supply officer for a rebel unit belonging to the Sub-Regional Committee 5, Northern Central Mindanao Regional Committee of the NPA, the military said in a statement on Saturday.

He also surrendered a firearm and ammunition.

Interviewed by the military, Acuman said he surrendered because he no longer wanted to be associated with the atrocities of the NPA in Bukidnon.

“As a youth, it’s hard to have no future. I returned to the government to continue my parents’ dreams for me,” the former NPA member was quoted as saying in the dialect.

Lt. Col. Sergio Macarandan Jr., 1st SF Battalion commander, said Acuman’s surrender was a “positive response to our call through social media and other means to stop their more than five decades of futile struggle.”

“We urge him to live a peaceful and better life with his family, free from fear and abuse and become God-fearing Filipino citizen. We want him to take part in promoting genuine peace and advancing sustainable development in his community through our capacity and development services in the region,” Macarandan said in a statement.

Macarandan said the Army will help the surrenderer to get government assistance such as free housing, remuneration for a surrendered firearm, immediate cash assistance, and livelihood opportunities.

Brig. Gen. Edgardo de Leon, commander of the Army’s 403rd Infantry Brigade, hopes Acuman’s surrender would “encourage other members of the CPP [Communist Party of the Philippines]-NPA terrorists to finally lay down their arms and live a normal life with their loved ones.”

The CPP, together with its armed wing NPA, is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines.

“We will uphold our mandate of protecting our people and our sovereignty by continuing with our community support programs and focused-military operations in pursuing long-lasting peace and development here in Northern Mindanao,” de Leon added.

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