THE last active guerrilla front of the Western Mindanao Regional Party Committee (WMRPC) of the New People’s Army (NPA) has been finally dismantled, the military reported Tuesday, January 16, 2024.
The 102nd Infantry Brigade said this came after the last two remaining members of the Guerrilla Front Sendong have voluntarily surrendered recently to the military forces in Danao village, Sergio Osmeña, Zamboanga del Norte.
Those who surrendered were Bebelin Labastida alias Hill and Matias Gaquit alias Apyot, both deputy secretaries of the weakened GF Sendong.
They turned over an AK-47 assault rifle and a magazine signifying their commitment to end their armed struggle.
The surrender of the two comes in the aftermath of a series of encounters in December 2023 during which four NPA rebels, including Cherry Teola, secretary of GF Sendong, were killed.
Lieutenant Colonel Jose Andre Monje, commander of the 10th Infantry Battalion and Task Unit Eradicator of the 102nd Infantry Brigade, affirmed the military's dedication to the welfare of the surrenderers.
“We will assist them, bring them to the nearest hospital for a medical checkup, and ensure their enrollment in the Enhanced-Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) of the government,” Monje said.
Meanwhile, Brigadier General Elmer Suderio, 102nd Infantry Brigade commander, Labastida and Gaquit have made the right decision in giving up their armed struggle.
“They made a wise decision to surrender. It prevents the unfortunate and unnecessary loss of lives like what happened to four of their comrades. This marks another step forward towards lasting peace and stability in Zampen (Zamboanga Peninsula),” Suderio added.
Lieutenant General William Gonzales, commander of the Western Mindanao Command, has commended the Joint Task Force (JTF) Zampelan (Zamboanga Peninsula and Lanao provinces) for a job well-done.
“Congratulations to JTF Zampelan for achieving another significant milestone in securing Zamboanga Peninsula. The Western Mindanao Regional Party Committee (WMRPC) is now on the brink of total defeat,” Gonzales said.
“Your continuous and persistent efforts are crucial at this time to prevent the WMRPC from recovering their lost armed formations and mass bases. Let's sustain the pressure and maximize our gains,” Gonzales added.
He urged the residents of Zamboanga Peninsula to continue work hand in hand since their cooperation is instrumental and vital in building a more insurgency-resilient community.