By Francis Wakefield
Two members of the Communist New People’s Army Terrorist (CNT) movement in Sultan Kudarat surrendered to government troops in the town of Senator Ninoy Aquino late evening Sunday.
The latest surrender happened two weeks after Communist terrorists torched heavy construction equipment belonging to Janmerc Construction Company that implemented the infrastructure project of the government in Hinalaan village, Kalamansig town.
Ka Glen, 55, and Ka Jongie 35, claimed to be members of Platoon My Phone, the group that was flushed out by the Army’s 33rd Infantry Battalion out of Esperanza-Bagumbayan area in the second quarter of 2018.
Lt. Col. Harold M. Cabunoc, the Commanding Officer of the 33rd Infantry (Makabayan) Battalion, presented the former rebels to Lt. Col. 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 with Buluan town, Maguindanao.
The surrenderers 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 8 a.m.
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,” Cabunoc said.
Ka Jongie 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 our communities,” he said in broken Filipino.
Meanwhile, Garcia 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 6thInfantry (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,” Sobejana said.
The 33rd IB has facilitated the surrender of 205 members of the Communist terrorist movement since May 2017.
The Makabayan Warriors achieved this feat by winning popular support through purposive stakeholders engagement, civil support operations, and calibrated employment of military force.