Two members of the communist terrorist movement in Sultan Kudarat surrendered to government troops in the town of Senator Ninoy Aquino late evening of January 13.
Lieutenant Colonel Harold Cabunoc, the Commanding Officer of the 33rd Infantry (Makabayan) Battalion, presented the former rebels to Lieutenant Colonel Jorge Garcia, the Commanding Officer of the Marine Battalion Landing Team 2, during the flag raising ceremony that was held at the Makabayan Battalion’s headquarters in this agricultural town located in the boundary of Buluan town, Maguindanao.
The surrenderors handed over two 9mm M11 Ingram Submachine Pistols to the military commanders during a simple ceremony that was coincided with the flag raising activity at 8am today.
Ltc Cabunoc urged the surrenderors to collaborate with the government authorities in solving community problems.
“You must take part in addressing the problems that haunt your tribal communities. Resist the intrusion of the deceptive propaganda of the communists by actively participating in peace dialogues and by supporting the implementation of development projects,” said Ltc Cabunoc to the returnees.
Ka Jongie, 35, one of the surrenderors, said that both of them have realized the futility of their cause.
“We were made to believe that the communists can help us claim back our ancestral lands. Instead, our involvement in the communist terrorist group had brought more suffering to us and to our communities,” he said in broken Filipino.
Meanwhile, Lt. Col. Garcia has pledged to assist the former rebels by processing them to receive the social benefits under the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) of the government.
Major General Cirilito Sobejana, the Commander of the Army’s 6th Infantry (Kampilan) Division, has cited the collaboration between the military units that confront the same communist terrorist group.
“You have demonstrated the template of collaboration that aligns with the principle of unit of effort in counterinsurgency campaign. Let us ensure that these misguided lumads will be provided with appropriate support by their local chief executives as they reunite with their families,” said Major General Sobejana.
“The surrender manifests that we are winning not only the hearts of the Mindanaoans but also that of the enemy,” said Lieutenant General Arnel Dela Vega, the commander of the Western Mindanao Command. “Despite this success, we will ensure that our counterinsurgency operations and community support programs will be sustained to convince more communist terrorists to surrender to the troops.”