Three local terrorists, including a minor, laid down their arms in Saguiaran, Lanao del Sur on October 7.
Mail Tinga, 36, Jamil Dimasangcay, 24, and Juhari Mangotara, 16, surrendered to soldiers of 82nd Infantry Battalion following a series of negotiations in Barangay Pawak at 4:30pm, Monday.
Under Maute Group sub-leader Imam, Mangotara and Dimasangcay previously fought against government troops in Gacap, Piagapo in 2017, while Tinga was involved in the series of armed engagements with soldiers in Butig and Piagapo in 2016, said 82IB Commander Lt. Col. Rafman Altre.
The returnees yielded one M79 grenade launcher and two caliber .45 handguns.
Said firearms are currently in the custody of the 82IB for proper documentation and disposition.
“We will continuously collaborate with local chief executives and other stakeholders to encourage other supporters or even the locals with loose firearms to surrender and submit themselves to the fold of the law in order to sustain the peace we have achieved through our relentless military operations, ” said Col. Jose Maria Cuerpo II, 103rd Infantry Brigade Acting Commander.
Meanwhile, Maj. Gen. Roberto Ancan, Joint Task Force Zampelan Commander, said: “Your Tabak Division remains steadfast in its commitment to attain just and lasting peace in its area of operation through our campaign against local terrorist groups and other threats. We also thank the local government and other stakeholders for their continued trust and support to our troops in contributing peace and development in the whole province of Lanao del Sur.”
“The armed forces condemn the exploitation of minors as combatants fighting for vested interests on battlefields. Why let the young bear arms and risk their limbs when they can be empowered to become peace catalysts?” said Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, commander of Western Mindanao Command.
“This is a resounding call on young combatants and other terrorists to contemplate and reconsider our peaceful mechanisms to genuinely end the armed struggles in Mindanao,” he added.