DAVAO CITY, Philippines, Oct. 13 (Xinhua) -- The Philippine military on Saturday claimed that a high-ranking leftist rebel has recently surrendered to authorities in southern Philippines.
Ricardo Lucnod, a local commander of the New People's Army (NPA) in Mindanao's Davao Oriental province turned himself in without firearms to Mati Mayor Michelle Rabat on Thursday, according to Col. Rey Leonardo Guerrero, a provincial army commander.
"He left the group's mountain lair sometime in August and lied low for over a month before deciding to surface. Hardships and sickness while evading government troops drove him to surrender," Guerrero said.
The military official said Lucnod became the 80th NPA rebel to return to the folds of law in Davao Oriental province this year. " Twenty four rebels surrendered in the first quarter while the 56 others had yielded in the last three months," said Guerrero.
He said the government has prepared livelihood programs to help former rebels rebuild their lives and reintegrate back to society.
The 4,000-strong NPA, armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines, has been fighting a leftist insurgency in 60 Philippine provinces. From a peak of 25,000 fighters in mid-1980s, the group's strength has dwindled due to battle losses and surrenders, according to the military.