'NPA no more,' Reds say of sub-leader who yielded to 39th IB

Mindanao Peace Process • Tue Oct 3, 2017 03:45 PM  •  93   0
By Malau C. Manar
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Antonio Gawelan, alias Commander Banate, hands over his rifle to a 39th IB officer. (39th IB photo)
Antonio Gawelan, alias Commander Banate, hands over his rifle to a 39th IB officer. (39th IB photo)
KIDAPAWAN CITY  – A squad leader of the New Peoples’ Army (NPA) Front 53 in North Cotabato that yielded to authorities on Monday is no longer connected with the armed movement, a top rebel leader said. 

Ka Chui, one of the top NPA Front 53 leaders in the province, said Ka Banate whose real name is Antonio Gawelan, has stopped joining the guerilla warfare since 2015. 

Chui said Banate was advised to take rest while still recuperating from his wounds after he engaged in a running gun battle with the 39th Infantry Battalion at Sitio Boay-Boay, Barangay Basak in Magpet.
 

“We brought him to his hometown in Kitao-tao, Bukidnon, where he was already considered a mere civilian," Ka Chui said. 

Chui added that since 2015, Banate was no longer in-charge of the squad under Front 53 and his issued M16 assault rifle was also taken from him. 

On Sunday, Banate, together with a certain Galang, one of the leaders of the Tinananon-Kulamanon Peasant Association (TIKULPA), yielded voluntarily to the 39th IB detachment in Arakan, North Cotabato.   

He brought his M16 assault rifle, which he said was issued to him by the Front.
 

Lt. Silver Belvis, spokesperson for the 39th IB, said Banate will receive an initial financial assistance worth P15 thousand, while they are still in the process of paying him for the rifle he surrendered to them.  

Belvis said an M16 rifle is worth P50 thousand.
 Banate was placed under the 39th IB custody. Belvis said they have yet to find out if Banate has pending criminal charges in court. 

“But even if he has to pay for the crimes he committed, the financial assistance will be given to him, so that he can start building a new life,” Belvis said. 

Belvis, on this part, has called on Ka Chui to also surrender to the folds of the law.  

“We are ready to accept you, Ka Chui, anytime. You have already sent fillers that you would want to surrender. We’re waiting for you here at the detachment,” said the Army spokesperson.  
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