An AFP 'breakthrough': 310 NPA, Abu Sayyaf members surrender in January

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 31 2018 03:56 PM

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MANILA - Calling it a "breakthrough year" in counterterror efforts, the military on Wednesday said about 310 members of the terror-tagged New People's Army (NPA) and the Abu Sayyaf Group surrendered to government this month.

Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesperson Edgard Arevalo said among those who laid down their arms, 60 were from the Abu Sayyaf and the rest were communist rebels. 

"These are indicators of growing discontent within their organizations, the success of our programs, and the cooperation between residents and local government units," Arevalo said in a press conference.

"We are continuously receiving more surrender (feelers) from these local terrorist groups," he said.

The military is now considering 2018 as a "breakthrough year in countering terrorism" given the surrender of hundreds of rebels on the first month of the year. 

Between January 2016 to January 2017, only 167 Abu Sayyaf members surrendered to government forces.

Last year, a series of skirmishes between the military and the Abu Sayyaf in Bohol and Mindanao resulted in the killing of key Abu Sayyaf leaders.

President Rodrigo Duterte meanwhile declared the NPA as a terrorist organization after he formally ended peace talks with the communist movement.