A female member of the New People’s Army (NPA) operating in northern Palawan has surrendered to local authorities after being separated from her colleagues during a military encounter with government troops Friday in Barangay Tinitian, Roxas.
A certain Justine Kate D. Raca reportedly presented herself to the village chief of Tinitian after escaping from the firefight and offered to surrender.
Col. Jimmy Larida, commander of the 3rd Marine Brigade (3MBde), in a press conference Saturday, said they were coordinating with local authorities to take custody of the rebel surrenderee.
“Merong isa na napahiwalay noong nag-scamper sila and kaninang around 2:30 ay nasa custody na siya ng barangay captain ng Tinitian,” Larida said.
“Our operating troops and intelligence personnel are now coordinating with the barangay and we are still trying to find out the factual status of the person,” he added.
Meanwhile, Larida said the NPA in Palawan is no longer capable of carrying out major operations, noting that its military strength has dwindled down to a force of only five armed men.
“So with that number, sa aming assessment ay wala na silang kakayahan para sa malakihang operation. Yung malakihang ambushes and attacks, I don’t think they that they are capable to do that anymore,” Larida said.
“Ang monitoring namin ngayon ay talagang dyan na lang sila sa Roxas. Paikot-ikot lang sila dyan sa Tinitian, Jolo and Nicanor Zabala,” he added.
Remil Padilla Rodriguez, a 23-year-old resident of Barangay Magara, was killed in the confrontation, while six others escaped the area, with Raca surrendering the following day.
Larida voiced concern, however, about the presence of learning modules recovered during their clearing operation, claiming that the NPA is attempting to recruit minors or high school students by offering a kind of tutorial service leading to indoctrination.
“Nalulungkot ako dahil sa module[s] eh. It looks like merong high school [student] na umaakyat sa kampo nila, at ginagamit pa itong module para mag-attract ng kabataan,” Larida said.
Larida said that following the encounter, government troops recovered NPA belongings at a camp, including one M14 and three M16A1 rifles, ammunition, ready-to-eat meals, medicines, bathroom essentials, subversive documents, and reading materials, and training modules.
Found in the rebel camp in Tinitian were a Music, Arts, Physical, Education, and Health (MAPEH) Validating Exam 10 with an answering sheet from Langogan National High School (LNHS) in Brgy. Langogan, and notebooks.
Female NPA leader
A military source profiled the rebel surenderee, Justine Kate D. Raca, as an education graduate, but not yet licensed, from the University of the Philippines (UP), who is from Bulacan. She’s a UP Batch 15-A Sigma Alpha Sorority member and was a student leader.
“Rich kid na spoiled brat siya,” the source described Raca.