MISAMIS Occidental Governor Henry Oaminal has given a P500,000 cash reward to the last member of the Guerrilla Front Sendong of the New People’s Army (NPA) for choosing peace.
The 10th Infantry Battalion (IB) said in a statement Saturday, January 27, that the recipient of the cash reward is Babylin Labastida, also known as Hill, the second deputy secretary of the Guerrilla Front Sendong.
Labastida, who is from Misamis Occidental, surrendered together with Matias Gaquit to military forces in Danao village, Sergio Osmeña, Zamboanga del Norte on December 30, 2023.
Oaminal, who warmly welcomed Labastida, handed over the cash reward to the former NPA leader during the first quarter Provincial Peace and Order Council meeting on Friday, January 26.
“This gesture underscores the provincial government's dedication to supporting former rebels in their journey toward peaceful and productive lives,” the 10IB said in a statement.
Oaminal, as the chairperson of the Provincial Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (Elcac), recognized the importance of extending assistance to those who have chosen to lay down their arms and embrace a more constructive future.
Oaminal said the surrender of Labastida signifies a significant milestone in the ongoing efforts to achieve an insurgency-free Misamis Occidental, aligning with the province's vision encapsulated by the 5Ms (Misamisnon Magpuyong Malinawon, Malambuon ug Malipayon).
Meanwhile, Oaminal admired the exceptional dedication and sacrifices made by Lieutenant Colonel Jose Andre Monje, 10IB commander, and his troops in dismantling the Guerrilla Front Sendong.
“This accomplishment is a testament to the province's unwavering commitment to achieving lasting peace and prosperity for its residents,” he said.
He said the Misamis Occidental provincial government remains steadfast in its pursuit of sustainable peace and unity, and the recent surrender is a clear indication the province is on the right path toward realizing its vision for a more tranquil and prosperous future. (SunStar Zamboanga)