CAMP MONTECLARO, Miagao Iloilo – Amidst COVID-19 crisis, another member of the CPP-NPA Terrorists (CNTs) from Tubungan, Iloilo voluntarily surrendered to the Army’s 61st Infantry (Hunter) Battalion on Tuesday, May 12, 2020.
Tubungan Mayor Roquito Tacsagon personally facilitated the surrender of his “Kasimanwa” (constituent) with the assistance of 61IB. Lieutenant Colonel Joel Benedict Batara, the Commanding Officer of the 61IB, identified the surrenderee as BOTOY (not his real name), 35 years old and a member of Sibat (SYP) Platoon, Southern Front, Komiteng Rehiyon-Panay.
“The intensified military operations launched by the government troops in Panay Island forced these NPA rebels to return to the folds of the law,” LTC Batara said.
BOTOY revealed that his realization of living a normal life together with his family gave him the courage to abandon the armed struggle.
LTC Batara commended BOTOY for his bravery and determination of returning to the folds of the government especially during this trying time where his family needs him the most.
“We warmly welcome him because he is just a victim of the CNTs’ propaganda and deception. And, most of all, we want him to fulfill his dream of having a normal and peaceful life,” Batara further said.
“Rest assured that your Army’s 61IB with the support of our local government units will continue to encourage the remaining CNT members to lay down their arms and give peace a chance,” Batara added. 61IB will assist BOTOY for his enrollment in the Enhanced- Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP).
He will also receive assistance from LGU-Tubungan through its integration program dubbed “Project ROKIT”.
On May 02 , alias Ken, a 20 year-old new recruit of the CNTs’ Suyak Platoon also yielded to 61IB after surviving the encounter at Sitio Anoy, Barangay Cabalaunan, Miagao, Iloilo last April 18, 2020.
-Photo courtesy of 61st Infantry “Hunter” Battalion