Eight communist guerrilla leaders surrender to Philippine authorities

Jeoffrey Maitem
Davao, Philippines
Eight communist guerrilla leaders surrender to Philippine authorities Filipino activists carry posters of Jose Maria Sison, founder of the Communist Party of the Philippines, during a march at the University of the Philippines campus in Quezon City, Metro Manila, three days after his death, Dec. 19, 2022.
Basilio Sepe/BenarNews

Philippine authorities on Friday said that eight senior communist guerrilla leaders had surrendered recently to the military’s eastern Mindanao Command, weeks after the death of rebellion founder Jose Maria Sison.

Interior Secretary Benjamin Abalos Jr. did not say when the “ranking leaders” of the New People’s Army (NPA) surrendered, only that they gave up because life in the guerrilla camps in the hinterlands had become difficult. The NPA is the guerrilla wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines. 

“They are commanding officers [of the NPA] and they have a long involvement with the movement,” Abalos told reporters. “What drove them to surrender is that they have seen an opening, a chance to trust the government. To the others, give up because the government is here to help.”

Authorities identified the rebel leaders as Noel Sinanday, Nickboy Sinanday, Rady Kinoyog, Jilmar Dahinlay, Jertolui Hilario, Roselyn Omandam, Maricel Colawing and Jenelyn Palta. They were said to be operating in the mountains of Bukidnon in Mindanao.

As a goodwill gesture, the eight led the military to three arms caches hidden in villages in the town of Talakag, a rebel stronghold, authorities said.

In addition, more than a dozen NPA rebels surrendered in Sultan Kudarat, South Cotabato and Zamboanga del Sur provinces, according to the state-run Philippine News Agency.

The NPA has been waging one of the world’s longest-running Maoist rebellions since 1969. It peaked in the 1980s, when the number of armed rebels was believed to be about 20,000. Today, slightly more than 2,000 are scattered across the Philippines, according to authorities.

The surrenders came weeks after CPP founder Sison, 83, died on Dec. 16 from natural causes in the Netherlands, where he went into self-exile.

“The loss of their highest leader has critically affected the morale of the [rebels]. Without Sison’s direction and leadership, the CPP-NPA will suffer,” said Eastern Mindanao Command chief Lt. Gen. Greg Almerol said.

“That is why their remnants are yielding, even as 2023 has just started, because they know the disaster [that they are facing]. With this situation, we expect more of their comrades to surface and lay down their arms.”



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