By Francis Wakefield
Sixteen communist rebels were surrendered last weekend to the army’s 102nd Infantry Brigade (102IB) in Imelda, Zamboanga Sibugay.
Colonel Bagnus Gaerlan, 102IB commander, said the surrenderers were composed of 15 Militia ng Bayan members and a regular New People’s Army (NPA) rebel who are from Barangay Balagon, Siay town.
The rebels who operate in the province yielded one .45-caliber pistol and two shotguns.
Their surrender was facilitated by Mayor Jarvis M. Acosta of Siay, and Lt. Col. Jonathan Obena, 44th Infantry Battalion (44IB) commander.
“Their surrender will minimize the violent incident and atrocities in our area of responsibility and will weaken the CNTs mass base support,” said Gaerlan, adding that they all pledged loyalty and allegiance to the government.
“We will facilitate and collaborate with other stakeholders for their enrollment to Enhance Comprehensive Local Integration Program (ECLIP) of the government,” he added.
Major General Roseller Murillo, Joint Task Force ZamPeLan) (Zamboanga Peninsula, Lanao) commander, commended the efforts of the 102nd Brigade, 44IB and the stakeholders who were involved and facilitated the successful surrender.
“We encourage other CNTs to return to the folds of law and take advantage of the E-CLIP,” Murillo said.