CAMP SANG-AN, ZDS– Four Communist NPA Terrorists (CNTs) fighters surrendered to Army’s 102nd Infantry Brigade units in Zamboanga del Norte last August 7, 2020.
The four CNTs who surrendered to 97th Infantry Battalion, 44th Infantry Battalion and 42nd Infantry Battalion were identified as alias MARKY – Squad Leader, alias AIAI – Medic, alias JURY – Medic, and alias JERWIN – Supply, all members of the HQ KALAW, Western Mindanao Regional Party Committee (WMRPC), the Communist Terrorist Group (CTG) unit that clashed with the government troops recently.
In an initial interview, alias JERWIN said in local dialect that they have opted to surrender after hearing that their wounded comrades rescued by the Army was treated well and given immediate medical attention.
“We heard that our wounded comrade, alias JEKJEK, that we abandoned after an encounter last August 5, and our wounded leader, alias PEEWEE and his wife, were all treated humanely by the soldiers and were given immediate medical care,” alias JERWIN said.
“We asked help from our fellow Subanen to assist us get in touch with the Army to signify our intent to surrender, because we were also already exhausted and hungry from running away,” he added.
According to Lt. Col. Manaros M Boransing, Commanding Officer, 97th IB, “They used the situation where they were separated into a smaller groups to escape and asked help from the locals in the area to inform our soldiers on the ground where they were hiding”.
“These personalities, including those who were rescued, were high-value targets, and occupied significant positions in their unit that can help us in our military operations,” Lt. Col. Boransing added.
Lt. Col. Don Templonuevo, Commanding Officer, 44th IB, who also facilitated one of the surrenderors stated that. “Their surrender is vital in our operations because they are leading fighters and we hoped that they can encourage all of them to surrender”.
In a statement, Maj. Gen. Gene Ponio, Commander, 1st Infantry Division, enjoined the different stakeholders through the Local Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict to continue the initiatives started despite the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.
“We understand that we are focused in defeating the threat on COVID-19 but let us also continue what we have started for the complete defeat of the Communist NPA in Western Mindanao,” Maj. Gen. Ponio said.
The former rebels will be processed under the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program before they will be reintegrated to the mainstream society.
~Press release and photos courtesy of 1st Infantry “Tabak” Division, Philippine Army