ZAMBOANGA CITY, Nov 22 (PIA) – A total of 32 Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) members/supporters surrendered to the Joint Task Force (JTF) Basilan, of which 29 were regular members and 3 were supporters, the Western Mindanao Command reported.
This included the recent surrender of three members and a supporter to the military in Basilan on Thursday morning, November 18, 2021.
In a press release, Maj. Gen. Alfredo Rosario, Jr., Commander of the Western Mindanao Command said that the surrender of the four was facilitated by the combined troops of the 18th Infantry Battalion and 4th Special Forces Battalion.
“The military is always ready to assist those who wish to surrender. On the other hand, we are also very determined to finish our job against terrorism and we will keep it up until our ultimate goal is achieved. Hence, we encourage them to wave their white flags and avail of the reintegration privileges that the government currently offers before it’s too late,” Maj. Gen. Rosario, Jr. emphasized.
Surrendered personalities submitted themselves and handed over their firearms to the troops at Headquarters, 18IB, Route Perez 7311 in Ungkaya Pukan, Basilan. Yielded are the following firearms: one M16 rifle, one Carbine rifle, and two Garand rifles. The four were subsequently presented to Lt. Col. Egverr Jonathan Abutin, Battalion Commander of 18IB.
“We express our sincerest gratitude to the local government unit of Ungkaya Pukan led by Vice Mayor Jomar Maturan and the barangay officials of Bohebaca, Tipo-Tipo led by Chairman Harun Harirun for their unwavering support to our unit’s efforts that led to the surrender of the ASG personalities,” Lt. Col. Abutin said.
The former violent extremists will receive livelihood assistance through the PAVE program. They also underwent custodial debriefing where they divulge the reason for their decision to come out. In local language, they said that they are tired of hiding and they want to live a normal and peaceful life with their families.
Brig. Gen. Domingo Gobway, Commander of JTF Basilan said, “Patuloy po naming hinihikayat ang iba pang miyembro ng Abu Sayyaf Group na sumuko na at makiisa tungo sa maunlad at mapayapang Basilan. Hindi giyera ang sagot sa gutom at kahirapan kundi pagtutulungan upang mapaunlad at mapayabong pa natin ang mga magagandang adhikain ng ating probinsya para sa ikagaganda nang ating buhay. Bukas po ang Joint Task Force Basilan at Provincial Government Unit ng Basilan upang tulungan kayo para mamuhay nang payapa at malayo sa karahasan”. (RVC/PIA9 with reports from WESMINCOM)