IPIL, ZSP – Nine disgruntled Communist NPA Terrorists (CNT) and five Yunit Militias (YM) surrendered and yielded ten firearms in Zamboanga Peninsula and Misamis Occidental, Wednesday morning, May 12, 2021.
The surrender of five CNTs from Guerilla Front Sendong, operating in Misamis Occidental and parts of Zamboanga del Norte, was made possible through negotiations conducted by the 10th Infantry (STEADY… ON) Battalion.
The former GF Sendong members were known for their aliases as Loloy, 46 years old; Rex, 29 years old; Jojo, 25 years old; Tato, 29 years old; and Brando, 20 years old, were all demoralized due to hunger and chose to abandon the armed struggle.
Loloy who have been in the armed struggle for almost 26 years, facilitated the seizure of the Communist Terrorist Group (CTG) arms cache containing one Bushmaster 5.56mm assault rifle, one AK47 assault rifle, five CZ assault rifles, with 25 assorted magazines, three Improvised Explosive Device (IED), and 648 live rounds cal. 7.62mm ammunitions.
Meanwhile, Brando was only 17 years old, a minor, when he was recruited by the CTG and left his family.
“This is a clear manifestation of the continued violations of the CTG on the protection of children rights in armed conflict,” said Lt. Col. Ray Tiongson, Commanding Officer, 10IB.
On the other hand, three former members of the defunct Guerilla Front Feliciano “Alpha” (GF Flex-A) with CTG code names as Jonas, 31years old, Tiling, 28 years old, and Reden, 31 years old surrendered to 44th Infantry (AGILE N’ STABLE) Battalion following a series of skermishes with government forces and losses last 2020.
“We are still exerting all effort through the active involvement of the Local Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (LTF-ELCAC) in the possible surrender of the remnants of the defunct GF Flex-A,” said Lt. Col. Filven Noche, Commanding Officer, 44IB.
Additionally, one former member of defunct GF Kara, known as Bea, 23 years old from Lapuyan town and five Yunit Militias of GF BBC from Dumingag town, Zamboanga del Sur surrendered with one improvised M79 Grenade Launcher, one improvised M14 rifle, one caliber .38 revolver and nine rounds live 40mm high explosive ammunitions to 53rd Infantry (MATAPAT) Battalion.
“This surrender of former CNT and YMs is a result of the continuous conduct of peace-building efforts through our mass base operations, to sustain our gains following the recent declaration of Zamboanga del Sur as an insurgency-free province,” said Lt. Col. Joar Herrera, Commanding Officer, 53IB.
For his part, Brig. Gen. Leonel Nicolas, Commander, 102nd Infantry (IGSOON) Brigade, who has operational jurisdiction of Zamboanga Peninsula and Misamis Occidental discussed how these surrenders show that the government is winning against the WMRPC in this part of Western Mindanao.
“The WMRPC is at the verge of its total destruction, with its members who are opting to lay down their arms and return to the folds of law, while most of their sympathizers withdrew their support to the armed struggle,” said Brig. Gen. Nicolas.
“The surrenderees also revealed that they were constantly on the run without food for days because their former mass supporters are already refusing to participate or contribute to the terroristic acts of the CTGs,” Brig. Gen. Nicolas added.
Maj. Gen. Gene Ponio, the Tabak Division Commander, urge the remnants of the WMRPC to give the government’s peace efforts a chance.
“You have all heard or witnessed the improvement of the lives of your former comrades who are now enjoying quality time with their families, as well as, the benefits from the government in order to assist them get back to their own feet as productive members of the society,” said Maj. Gen. Ponio.
“It is now your turn to choose the path you wish to take, the path to be with your families or the futile armed struggle against the government and the people,” Maj. Gen. Ponio added.
As of posting, the former rebels are being enrolled under the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (ECLIP) and will entitled to receive immediate cash and livelihood assistance amounting to PhP65,000.00, as well as, firearm remuneration for those who are eligible.