ZAMBOANGA CITY — Three individuals believed to be members of the New People's Army voluntarily surrendered to authorities and turned over their high-caliber firearms in Lebak, Sultan Kudarat.
Lt. Col. John Paul Baldomar, commander of the 37th Infantry (Conqueror) Battalion reported on Wednesday that the former NPAs presented themselves to the soldiers at their headquarters located in Barangay Tibpuan in Lebak town.
Baldomar identified the three through their aliases as Red, alias Michelle/Nicole/Jessa and alias Than/Melchor, who served as Admin/ Para-Legal/Finance Officer of the front.
The three also turned over two M16 rifles and a Cal. 38 Revolver.
According to Baldomar, hardship was the main reason for the surrender of the three former NPAs.
Joint Task Force Central commander Major General Alex Rillera urged the remaining NPAs to surrender to the government forces and live happily with their family.
Meantime, the Philippine Army's 3rd Infantry Division has dismissed claims of human rights violation as it welcomed any independent investigation on the clash that claimed the lives of six Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army fighters in Kabankalan City, Negros Occidental last week.
Maj. Gen. Marion Sison, commander of 3ID, said soldiers "strictly follow" the Armed Forces of the Philippines rules of engagements "at all times" and are "reminded to always observe and abide by the provisions of the International Humanitarian Law and the Rule of Law."
"We are confident and we firmly believe the said encounter was a legitimate one. We welcome any inquiry to this effect by any independent party," Sison said in a statement.
He added that the investigation would "eventually clear and vindicate" them from various allegations of human rights violation.