BORONGAN, Eastern Samar – A top NPA cadre operating in Eastern Samar surrendered to the Army’s 78th Infantry Battalion, an official of the military reported today, June 28, 2021.

Capt. Arnold Arias, civil military officer of the 78IB identified the NPA returnee as Ka Roel who he said exposed the rebels’ arms caches containing high-powered firearms and improvised explosive devices (landmines).

Ka Roel, who served as the Political Instructor and the Assistant Squad Leader of Squad 2 in the NPA’s Guerilla Unit operating in the southern municipalities of Eastern Samar voluntarily surrendered to Lieutenant Colonel Oliver C. Alvior, Commanding Officer of 78th Infantry Battalion based in Barangay Lalawigan, Borongan City, on June 15, 2021.

The rebel-returnee brought with him one (1) 5.56mm M16A1 Rifle, magazines, and numerous ammunition upon his surrender.
As provided under the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (ECLIP) of the government, Ka Roel undergo mandatory medical, dental care and provided with food as he showed starvation and fatigue due to constant movement across the hinterlands of Eastern Samar.

It was learned that Ka Roel was able to surrender and lay down firearms after series of negotiations mediated by Llorente-Gen MacArthur Peace Builder Group (PBG) whose members are mostly former NPAs and supporters.

In a statement, Ka Roel told the military that the New People’s Army in the province “had lost most of its manpower as a result of the relentless combat and security operations implemented by 78IB and Eastern Samar Provincial Police Office (ESPPO) as the main operating units under the Peace and Law Enforcement Development Support (PLEDS) Cluster here in Eastern Samar.”

He added that the constant military operations also disrupted their capability to recruit new members forcing the rebel group to leave excess firearms in their caches through their former contacts in numerous barangays.

In return, the government military assured Ka Roel of his safety after providing significant information to the government.
Through this information, the Army’s 78IB was able to locate and recover five (5) M16 rifles, two (2) M14 rifles, and six (6) IED main charge components in the hinterlands barangays of Gen MacArthur in Eastern Samar.

Meanwhile, Lt. Col. Alvior, praised the bravery of the former rebel in deciding to surrender his firearm and to pinpoint NPA arms caches. He also gave assurance that the government will provide necessary interventions for alias Roel and his family as the latter decided to return to the fold of law.

“The surrender of @Roel and the discovery of the NPA arms cache is a manifestation of the effectivity of the Whole-of-Nation approach wherein the collective effort of the TF-ELCACs particularly by the PLEDS and Local Peace Engagement (LPE) Clusters represented by the Peace Builder Groups, have provided a conducive environment for the remaining active NPAs to surrender. The increasing number of NPA surrenderees and the recovery of numerous firearms and explosives signify that the NPA in Eastern Samar are directionless because their top leaders in Eastern Samar have abandoned their fighters,” the CO of the 78IB Lt. Col. Alvior said. (PR/With reports from Ricky Bautista; Photos courtesy of 78IB)