Friday Apr, 12 2024 06:29:55 PM

Mindanao DI terrorist cell dismantled; violent extremists, NPAs yield to Army

Mindanao Armed Conflict • 12:30 PM Tue Jan 30, 2024
Edwin O. Fernandez
RIGHT DECISION. Major Gen. Alex Rillera (3rd from right), 6th Infantry Division commander, receives a rifle from one of the surrenderees as military and local officials look on. (6th ID photo)

KORONADAL CITY  – Military authorities here have announced that it succeeded in dismantling the remaining terrorist cell in South Cotabato-Sarangani province area as more Moro extremists returning to the folds of the law in the Bangsamoro region.

Two communist rebels also decided to lay down guns and avail of the government’s peace and reconciliation offers.

On Monday, Colonel Carlyleo Nagac, commander of the 5th Army Special Forces Battalion (5th SFBn), said the Dawlah Islamiyah-Maguid Group, previously known as Ansa Akhalifa Philippines and operating mainly in Polomolok, South Cotabato, and the Makima complex (Maasim-Kiamba-Maitum) in Sarangani, had been neutralized and dismantled.

Because of this accomplishment, the 5th SFBn was awarded the prestigious AFP Streamer by no less than the AFP Commander-in-Chief, President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. assisted by Defense Sec. Gilbert Eduardo Teodoro Jr and AFP Chief of Staff General Romeo S Brawner Jr.

“This (achievement) is not solely by the 5th SF Battalion alone but the collective efforts of those who had worked day and night amidst various risks, those who operate in the frontlines, and those that have worked in the shadows. With this achievement, South Cotabato’s peace and security situation and outlook will significantly improve paving the way for more economic and development opportunities,” Colonel Nagac said.

On the same day, six former Moro violent extremists (FVEs) and two former communist rebels (FRs) peacefully surrendered to the Army’s 6th Infantry Division in their desire to live normal lives and in recognition of the government’s peace and reconciliation efforts in the southern Philippines.

They were formally presented to 6th ID commander Maj. Gen. Alex Rillera, 603rd Brigade Commander Brigadier General Michael Santos, Upi Mayor Rona Piang-Flores, South Upi Mayor Reynalbert Insular, and retired Gen. Edgardo de Leon of Office of Presidential Adviser on Peace and Reconciliation.

Also present was Mr. Roger Dionisio of the office of Maguindanao del Sur Gov. Bai Mariam Mangudadatu.

The ceremonial presentation of FVEs and FRs was held at the 57th Infantry (Masikap) Battalion, Camp Edwards, Barangay Mirab, Upi, Maguindanao del Norte on Monday.

Lt. Colonel Guillermo Mabute Jr., 57th IB commanding officer, coined the “FVEs” as “Former Victims of Extremism” and “FRs” as “Friends Rescued.”

“I commend the former victims of extremism and friends rescued for their courage in denouncing violence and extremism. Rest assured that the government will help you start your journey in living normally and peacefully with your families,” Mabute said.

The extremists also turned in assault rifles and grenade launchers.

Rillera said that the ceremonial presentation showcased the FVEs and FRs' commitment to leaving behind their past affiliations and embracing a new journey.

“We, in the JTFC, aim to foster and give our utmost support for such initiatives of reintegration,” Rillera said. “Additionally, we aspire to encourage the remaining rebels to lay down their arms and reintegrate into the folds of law.”

The FVEs and FRs received financial assistance and food packs from Maguindanao del Sur’s peace initiative dubbed as "Anak na may GInintuang LAyunin, upang Hintuan Ang Violent Extremism Ngayon" (AGILA-HAVEN) Program. 

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May be an image of ‎1 person, dais and ‎text that says '‎MPA NG BAYAN SOUTH ABATO 水蜜å OFFICIAL SEAL Ako ay Pilipino Buong katapatang nanun sa watawat ng Pilipin valansa At sa bansang kanyar sinasagisag Na may dangal, katarung kalayaan binakikilos ng sambay maka-Diyos, Maka-kalikasan, maka-t maka-bansa. SOUTH COTABANO اشه‎'‎‎

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