PRESIDENT QUIRINO, Sultan Kudarat - Five members of the New People's Army laid down their arms and surrendered to the Philippine Army in Midtungok village, Sen. Ninoy Aquino town at about 4pm yesterday.
Lt Col Harold M Cabunoc, the Commanding Officer of the 33rd Infantry (Makabayan) Battalion, said that the rebels belonged to the Platoon Myphone of Guerilla Front 73 under Ka Macmac.
Among the surrenderees are Ome Digan, 48, Adot Digan,30, Misuari Digan, 18, Siale Digan,16, and Eson Digan,25. One of the surrenderees is a child warrior Siale, 16, who was recruited in 2015.
"The surrenderees turned over three firearms including a Cal .30 M1 Garand, Cal 30 M2 Carbine, and a 40mm M79 Grenade Launcher," said Cabunoc.
Misuari Digan said that he was recruited by Ka Macmac in Tupi Bato village in 2014.
"They promised me to retake our ancestral lands from outsiders so I joined to fight for my tribe," said Misuari who converted to Islam after marrying a Muslim girl in Palimbang town. Misuari is among the trainees who finished a course in a rebel training camp that was seized by the 33rd Infantry Battalion on August 21, 2017.
Eson Digan was a leader of the NPA's communal farm in the upland village of Sitio Tupi Bato, Midtungok village.
"Ka Macmac promised me to erect a school for our tribe but it did not happen. They kept on asking food from us who worked in the farm. We ended up being wanted criminals because of our being NPA members," said Eson who has a 3 yr old child.
The surrenderees will be presented to the local government of Sultan Kudarat in order to receive the benefits given to former rebel.
Major General Dela Vega, expressed his condemnation against the NPA for employing child warriors in waging violent attacks