Eight Maoist rebels surrendered to the Philippine government just a few days after Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte appealed to Maoist rebels that they will be getting new houses and jobs if they lay down their arms.
The Maoist rebels based in the Sultan Kudarat Province in the Southern Philippines turned over their firearms and roadside bombs to the Philippine military as a gesture of their interest to return back to the mainstream society.
The surrender of Maoist rebels or popularly known as the New People's Army (NPA) was facilitated by municipal mayor Randy Ecija in coordination with the Philippine Army's 33rd Infantry Battallion.
The eight insurgents were later discovered to be followers of Commander Bobby and Commander Jimboy who earlier surrendered to the Philippine military two months. The provincial government of Sultan Kudarat also introduced an amnesty program for rebels who wish to be reintegrated into the mainstream.
Major General Arnel Dela Vega of the Philippine Army told journalists that the rebels were also influenced by the 70 other NPA rebels who earlier surrendered to the Philippine military and the provincial government.
"They must have felt the sincerity of the government in dealing with their comrades who earlier surrendered," Dela Vega added.
Military sources said that the NPA rebels who surrendered were disappointed to their organization because the Maoist rebel leadership failed to deliver the promise to protect them.
One of those surrendered, identified as Michael Galing, said that they have been "running all throughout their life from pursuing government troops."
Dela Vega also lauded the town officials for initiating the back-channel talks with the NPA rebels that led to their surrender.
The NPA is the longest-running insurgency in Southeast Asia and remains to be a security threat to the Philippines government. The government and the NPA rebels attempted to lock a peace deal but for several times, both negotiating panels failed to reach an agreed consensus.
Duterte said due to the stubborn behaviour of NPA rebels, he is no longer interested to hold talks with the rebels.