TWO members of communist rebels which include a minor, surrendered to troops in Loreto, Agusan del Sur.
The two rebels were identified as alias Jonel, 33 years old and alias Rustom, 16 years old, both elements of Abe Team, Segunda Squad, Pulang Bagani Command (PBC) 4, Southern Mindanao Regional Committee (SMRC) operating in the boundaries of Loreto, Agusan del Sur and Laak, Compostela Valley Province.
Jonel surrendered his AK 47 rifle with one (1) magazine and forty (40) live ammunition while Rustom yielded one (1) sub-machine gun with one (1) magazine and seven (7) live ammunition and cal.38 revolver.
“We condemn the series of violations being committed by the Communists-NPATerrorists (CNTs) on the provisions of Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) against the civilians and IP members here in our AOR. Rustom, who is a minor and a member of the Manobo Tribe in Loreto, should be in school and learning, and should never be recruited and forcibly used as their combatant,” Lieutenant Colonel Romeo Jimenea said, Battalion Commander of 26IB.
It can be recalled last month that an elf truck used to deliver lemons, was burned down by rebels belonging to Guerrilla Front 8 at Brgy. Balit, San Luis, Agusan del Sur, after the owner refused to give in to their extortion demands.
In his statement during the debriefing, Rustom narrated that he was "kidnapped" by rebels after he was seen in the forest, where he was forcibly brought to their hideout somewhere in the forested part of San Mariano, Loreto.
Rustom is currently under the custody of the Provincial Social Welfare and Development (PSWD) for case management and necessary intervention, while Jonel is undergoing custodial debriefing in connection with their E-CLIP Enrollment, in which they will be receiving psycho-social interventions, financial and livelihood assistance and firearms remunerations for their surrendered firearms.
According to them, lack of sleep, food and hardship were the main reasons why they decided to surrender.
“We will continue our efforts to conduct security operations in our unit’s area to engage the remaining NPAs decisively, to give them only two options, to surrender and live peacefully with their families, or to be neutralized and face their death. We strongly urge those rebels who still blinded by the communists’ deception to open your eyes and grab the opportunity to surrender while you are still alive. Christmas Season is fast approaching, and there’s no greater gift than to be with your own family this season. Give peace a chance,” Jimenea added.