CAMP SANG-AN, Labangan, Zamboanga del Sur – Another two armed NPA Militia members surrendered to the Army’s 44th Infantry Battalion in Brgy Balagon, Siay, Zamboanga Sibugay 4:00 p.m. Monday, July 15, 2019.
Alias Rick and Alias King (true names withheld) who also yielded one 12 gauge shotgun and caliber .22 rifle, followed the decision of their six (6) comrades from the same village of Siay that just recently abandoned the armed violence being espoused by the Communist Terrorist Group (CTG).
“We expect more of our brothers and sisters who were deceived by the CTG to come out and return to the government’s fold. Through our Community Support Program, we will be able to identify their problems and find appropriate solution to those problems through the convergence of efforts of the government, other stakeholders and the people in the community themselves, but definitely not through the armed struggle,” Lt Col Don Templonuevo, commanding officer of the Army’s 44th Infantry Battalion.
The convergence of the local government units, government agencies and other stakeholders is in line with the Executive Order Nr 70 signed by the President creating the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC).
In Region 9, the Regional Task Force- ELCAC was activated last May 24, 2019 and currently pushing forward the programs and projects for peace and development towards the conflict-affected, conflict vulnerable and the geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas or known as the focus areas.
“The influx of surrender is a manifestation that the people have already realized that we can only solve our societal issues through peaceful means, which can only be achieved if we work together instead of fighting each other,” said Brigadier General Bagnus Gaerlan, Jr., commander of 102nd Infantry Brigade which has operational jurisdiction over Zamboanga Sibugay.
Meanwhile, Major General Roberto Ancan, the 1st Infantry Division and Joint Task Force Zampelan (Zamboanga Peninsula and Lanao Provinces) commander, welcomed alias Rick and Alias King as they’ve made the right decision not only for themselves but more importantly, for their families.
“We are making significant headway in our campaign to end local communist armed conflict in our area of operation. Let us continue to work together, work even harder to once and for all end the menace of the CTG and bring the most needed services to the people for us to attain just, inclusive and sustainable peace and development in Western Mindanao, Ancan concluded.