Mon, 06 Dec 2021

GENERAL SANTOS CITY -Two former New People's Army (NPA) rebels and a member of a local terrorist group surrendered to government troops here following a series of negotiations, an Army official said on Friday.

Col. Galileo Goyena, commander of the Joint Task Force (JTF) GenSan, said the three formally yielded along with their firearms on Thursday through the intervention of concerned local officials and stakeholders.

He identified the surrenderers as Rudin Embang alias "Rod," a former member of the Dawlah- Islamiyah Hassan Group based in South Cotabato; and "disgruntled" NPA members Nico Balansi alias "Bentong," and Kansal Ahim alias "Baldo".

The three surrendered an M1 Springfield Garand rifle, 5.56mm CQ rifle, caliber .45 ACP pistol, and assorted ammunition.

"They mainly decided to surrender so they can live peacefully with their families and take part in the government's reintegration program," Goyena told reporters.

Embang, who hails from Polomolok town in South Cotabato, had been tagged by authorities as a member of a Dawlah Isamiya terrorist cell under sub-leader Zaiden Jade Nilong alias "Ali Boy."

He was linked to the murder in January 2019 of Barangay Rubber councilor Jemue Cariaga in Polomolok.

Balansi originally hails from an undisclosed area in northern Mindanao and had served as platoon leader under the NPA's Mt. Kitanglad Regional Operation Command-North Central Mindanao Regional Committee.

He reportedly left his unit several months ago, married a woman from this city, and eventually moved to the area.

Ahim was a former member of Platoon Cherry Mobile of the NPA's Sub- Regional Command Daguma-Far South Mindanao Region that operates in Sultan Kudarat province.

In an interview with reporters, Balansi said he decided to leave his unit due to the uncertainty of their cause.

He said he had gone tired of fighting in the mountains and being always on the run from government troops and lawmen.

"There's no reason for us anymore to fight the government. We're fighting for a cause that is no longer relevant," Balansi said.

He said he eventually decided to formally surrender after being convinced with the government's sincerity in reaching out to them and in addressing the plight of communities, especially those in the hinterland areas.

Goyena said they will enlist the surrenderers into the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program so they can avail of livelihood assistance and other interventions from various government agencies.

He said the three initially received cash grants of PHP5,000 each through the Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation or AICS program of the Department of Social Welfare and Development.

They can also avail of livelihood settlement grants from the agency worth PHP20,000 each, he said. (PNA)

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