CAMP EVANGELISTA, Cagayan de Oro City – In line with the nation-wide celebration of International Women’s Day, Brigadier General Franco Nemesio M Gacal, Commander, 4th ID shared food with four ranking female NPA members at the Headquarters of the 1st Special Forces Battalion in Brgy Mampayag, Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon last March 3, 2019. Instead of fighting it out in the mountains where lives are at stake, soldiers and former rebels engaged in a wonderful military tradition called ‘boodle fight” to celebrate life.

Jai-jai, Diding, Jao and Lala (not their real names) were among the recent batches of surrenders from the CPP-NPA terrorist group of the Sub-Regional Committee and Regional Urban Committee of Northern Mindanao Regional Committee (NCMRC) in Region 10 who turned their backs against their terrorist organization and surrender to the government troops last February this year. These FRs turned-in assorted medical and dental supplies, medicines, cellphone, tablet and subversive documents.

Lala, a former finance officer and political instructor said, “I am very grateful to the soldiers and the government agencies for giving us a chance to gain back our normal life and become productive members of the society. We know that women play a significant role in a family and we are critical components in creating a peaceful community. I am more than honored and privileged to be personally visited, conversed and was able to partake sumptuous lunch (boodle fight) with the officers and men of the 4th ID headed by Brigadier General Gacal. They have shown utmost respect and took good care of us contrary to what NPA terrorist leaders told us.” she added.

Brigadier General Franco Nemesio M Gacal, Commander 4th ID said, “Every woman counts, we recognize the active contributions of women especially in peace building in Mindanao. These female FRs have a great role to perform, to reach out to their former comrades and be a worthy example that there is an easy way out from the terrorist organization if they only give peace a chance.” 4th ID is a gender responsive Army unit and this activity highlights the celebration of Women’s Month with the theme: “We Make Change Work for Women”.