CAMP SIONGCO, Awang, DOS, Maguindanao del Norte – Four members of the extremist group completely abandoned the armed struggle after they surrendered at the headquarters of the 7th Infantry (Tapat) Battalion in Brgy Kapaya, Bagumbayan, Sultan Kudarat, March 8th, 2023.
According to Lt. Col. Frederick Chicote, the Commanding Officer of 7IB forced the former rebels to surrender due to the intensified campaign of the military against terrorism. “Two of those who surrendered are residents of Datu Odin Sinsuat and the other two live in Gen. Salipada K. Pendatun all in the province of Maguindanao del Sur,” asserted Lt. Col. Chicote.
The four also surrendered their war equipment such as one M14 Rifle, one Garand Rifle, one M79 Homemade Grenade Launcher, two RPG Launchers, six Anti-personnel RPG ammo, one IED, two UXOs (81MM HE and 60MM HE). , five Hand Grenades, three Rifle Grenades, and one Ctg; 40MM HE.
The converts were immediately presented to Brigadier General Michael A. Santos, the Brigade Commander of the 603rd Persuader Brigade in a simple ceremony at the home of the loyal battalion.
“The 603rd Brigade is ready to support your return to our society, which once again obeys and obeys the existing laws of our country, to make the province of Sultan Kudarat more peaceful and quiet against any threat of terrorism”, said Brig. Gen. Santos.
Datu Yahiya Sinenggayan, focal person Sultan Kudarat PTF – ELCAC and the staff of DSWD 12 led by Mr. witnessed and extended financial assistance and food packs. Ryan Balanza, Division Chief, Protective Services, DSWD 12.
Major General Alex S. Rillera, Commander of the 6th Infantry (Kampilan) Division and Joint Task Force Central, on the other hand, praised the decision of the four surrenderers regarding giving space for peace to prevail.
“The surrender of four of the 7IB troops is an important step towards peace. No matter how dedicated you are to serving your leaders in the armed movement if you are not with your family and loved ones, all that matters your efforts. We applaud your decision to choose peace instead of violence, and I encourage the rest of your former comrades to follow in your footsteps,” Maj. Gen. Rillera said.
So far, 43 violent extremists have surrendered under JTF Central from the month of January to the present.