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326 communist rebels surrender in January – AFP

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Approximately 326 members of the left-leaning New People’s Army (NPA) surrendered to the government in January, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said.

On February 3, AFP public affairs office chief Lt. Col. Emmanuel Garcia said military records showed that 310 communist rebels surrendered from January 1 to 29, while the other 16 members presented themselves “voluntarily” from January 30 to 31.

“The unprecedented number of surrenders is attributed to the call of President and AFP Commander-in-Chief Rodrigo Duterte on the rebels, as well as the hardship and sense of betrayal experienced by the returnees in staying with the NPA,” Garcia said.

Gemma Quiroga of Davao Oriental, 35, surrendered to the Army’s 28th Infantry Battalion last January 27, who, Garcia noted, served as a squad medic of the communist rebels in Davao Oriental.

Quiroga also chaired the ANAKPAWIS organization in Mati City, Garcia added.

“The AFP leadership congratulates its various units on the ground for the effective use of military pressure against the NPAs, as well as in their humane treatment of the former rebels,” he said.

Garcia remained hopeful that the decisions of former NPA members to surrender would also give encouragement to other rebels to turn over their firearms and “embrace” peace in the country.

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