Top NPA leader ‘Ka Efren’ , wife fall in South Cotabato

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A ranking leader of the New People’s Army (NPA) and his wife surrendered to government troops based in South Cotabato province on Monday after a series of negotiations.

Lt. Col. Benjamin Leander, commanding officer of the Army’s 27th Infantry Battalion (IB), said Tuesday that NPA-Far South Mindanao or Valentin Palamine Command spokesperson Noel Legaspi alias Ka Efren and wife Wendy decided to yield voluntarily after serving the rebel movement for around 26 years.

He said the surrender was facilitated by the 27th IB based in Tupi town in South Cotabato in coordination with provincial officials led by Gov. Daisy Avance-Fuentes.

“This is the result of continuing collaborative efforts aimed at convincing more NPA rebels in the area to surrender and return to the folds of the law,” he said in a radio interview.

Leander said Legaspi was considered among the top leaders of the NPA-Far South Mindanao, which operates in parts of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, North Cotabato, Maguindanao and Davao del Sur provinces.

Legaspi was a long-time spokesperson of the group and had granted media interviews in the past regarding NPA activities in the area.

His wife, Ka Wendy, had served in the NPA unit’s medical staff.

“They wanted to lead normal lives and end the long years of hiding from authorities,” Leander said.

In Sultan Kudarat province, more than 100 NPA rebels already surrendered since last year through the provincial government led by Gov. Datu Pax Mangudadatu.