2 NPA ARSONISTS YIELD IN SULTAN KUDARAT
REBELS GIVE UP. Two members of the New People’s Army, identified only as Ka Jongie and Ka Fred, yielded to the military in simple ceremony at the headquarters of the Army’s 33rd Infantry Battalion in President Quirino, Sultan Kudarat held Wednesday (Jan. 16, 2019). (Photo courtesy of 6ID)
CAMP SIONGCO, Maguindanao — Two members of the communist New People’s Army (NPA), who were involved in the recent torching of eight heavy equipment in Kalamansig, Sultan Kudarat, have surrendered to authorities, the Army said Wednesday.
Lt. Col. Harold Cabunoc, commander of the Army’s 33rd Infantry Battalion (IB), presented the surrenderers to Lt. Col. Jorge Garcia, commander of the 2nd Marine Battalion Landing Team (MBLT), during ceremonies held at the 33IB headquarters in President Quirino, Sultan Kudarat.
Local government officials, in coordination with the 33IB, have facilitated the surrender of the duo, who have earlier sent surrender feelers to Cabunoc, in the outskirts of Senator Nonoy Aquino town, also in Sultan Kudarat.
The surrenderers, identified only through aliases Ka Jongie and Ka Fred, also yielded two 9mm M11 Ingram submachine pistols.
Ka Jongie, 35, said they 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.
Cabunoc, for his part, urged the surrenderers to collaborate with government authorities in solving the problems of their 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 told the returnees.
Last Jan. 7, both surrenderers, together with some 20 others, torched eight heavy equipment being used for road construction in the upland village of Hinalaan in Kalamansig, Sultan Kudarat.
The rebels, clad in fatigue uniforms, arrived at the construction site of Janmerc Construction Company around 5 a.m. that day and burned the equipment.
Seven of the construction equipment were torched in Barangay Hinalaan center while a backhoe was burned in Sitio Saniag, also in the same barangay.
Among the burned equipment were a payloader, cement mixer, cargo truck, road roller, dump truck, and backhoe.
Janmerc has been tasked to undertake a road-concreting project between the towns of Senator Ninoy Aquino and Kalamansig, both in Sultan Kudarat province.
The rebels burned the heavy equipment after the construction firm rejected their demand for revolutionary taxes and protection money. A company-size contingent of the 2nd MBLT, backed by police forces, were immediately dispatched to hunt down the NPAs operating in the area.
Speaking on behalf of the 2nd MBLT, Garcia has pledged to assist the former rebels so they would be able to receive the social benefits under the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program of the government.
Maj. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, commander of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division, has cited the collaboration between the military units to go after the NPA in the Kalamansig-President Quirino-Senator Ninoy Aquino border.
“Let us ensure that these misguided will be provided with appropriate support by their local chief executives as they reunite with their families,” Sobejana said referring to the surrenderers. (PNA)