TALACOGON, Agusan del Sur – Two (2) regular members of the Communists rebels voluntarily surrendered to the elements of Charlie Company, 26th Infantry (Ever Onward) Battalion based at Loreto, Agusan del Sur, yesterday morning, Nov. 13.
The two rebels were identified as alias Jonel, 33-years old and alias Rustom, 16-years old, both elements of Abe Team, Segunda Squad, Pulang Bagani Command (PBC) 4, Southern Mindanao Regional Committee (SMRC) operating in the boundaries of Loreto, ADS and Laak, Comval Province.
Jonel surrendered his AK 47 rifle with one (1) magazine and forty (40) live ammunitions while Rustom yielded one (1) sub-machine gun with one (1) magazine and seven (7) live ammunitions and cal.38 revolver.
“We condemn the series of violations being committed by the Communists-NPA-Terrorists (CNTs) on the provisions of Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) against the civilians and IP members here in our AOR. Rustom, who is a minor and a member of the Manobo Tribe in Loreto, should be in school and learning, and should never be recruited and forcibly used as their combatant,” according to LTC Romeo C Jimenea, Battalion Commander of 26IB.
It can be recalled last month that an elf truck used to deliver lemons, was burned down by the CNTs belonging to GF 8 at Brgy. Balit, San Luis, Agusan del Sur, after the owner refused to give in to their extortion demands.
In his statement during the debriefing, Rustom narrated that he was kidnapped by the CNTs after he was seen in the forest, where he was forcibly brought to their hideout somewhere in the forested part of San Mariano, Loreto. He repeatedly asked for permission to go home but he was denied by alias Tula and alias Jordan, ordering him to stay without any valid reasons. Eventually, he was with the platoon operating back and forth in the provincial boundary for three months. An M16 rifle was issued to him after a month and half, when an encounter between the 26IB troops and his group occurred, resulting to the recovery of one (1) AK 47 by the government troops. After that, he planned to escape and decided to surrender.
Rustom is currently under the custody of the Provincial Social Welfare and Development (PSWD) for case management and necessary intervention, while Jonel is undergoing custodial debriefing in connection with their E-CLIP Enrollment, in which they will be receiving psychosocial interventions, financial and livelihood assistance and firearms remunerations for their surrendered firearms.
According to them, lack of sleep, food and hardship were the main reasons why they decided to surrender, following the encounter against the 26IB troops happened at Kauswagan, Loreto last month, October 2, 2018.
“We will continue our efforts to conduct security operations in our unit’s area to engage the remaining NPAs decisively, to give them only two options, to surrender and live peacefully with their families, or to be neutralized and face their death. We strongly urge those rebels who still blinded by the communists’ deception to open your eyes and grab the opportunity to surrender while you are still alive. Christmas Season is fast approaching, and there’s no greater gift than to be with your own family this season. Give peace a chance,” LTC Jimenea added.
Brigadier General Andres C. Centino, Commanding General of 401st Brigade encourages all stakeholders to support the implementation of E-CLIP so that those Former Rebels who already surrendered could receive immediately the assistance they needed.
“We can effectively resolve this insurgency through the collaboration and unity of all the efforts of the government offices concerned, which were seriously needed by these rebels,” BGen. Centino ended.