By Bonita Ermac
ILIGAN CITY – A team Leader of the New People’s Army (NPA) surrendered to the 44th Infantry Battalion in Lower Baluran, Imelda, Zamboanga Sibugay, Monday afternoon, May 4.
The surrenderer was identified as Jonar Balase Penote, alyas Jonas, of Team Abe, Squad 1, Guerilla Front Feleciano Alpha (GF Flex-A), Western Mindanao Regional Party Committee (WMRPC).
Penote yielded his one AK47 assault rifle, and a caliber-.45 pistol.
Penote said he decided to lay down his arms upon learning that his former comrades, who have already surrendered, are now living better lives together with their families.
“I’ve longed to be with my family again, live a simple and normal life, without fear and away from danger,” Penote said in local dialect.
“Inspite of our ongoing offensives to thwart the NPA terrorist and their extortion activities in hinterland communities, the unit has maintained its doors open for those who wish to return to the folds of law,” said Lt Col Don Templonuevo, Commanding Officer, 44IB.
Meanwhile, Col Leonel Nicolas, Commander, 102nd Infantry Brigade, pledged to facilitate his enrollment to the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program.
“The series of tactical advantages we have gained for the past month against these terrorist groups in Zamboanga Peninsula paved way for a demoralized members who seek help and refuge to our soldiers,” Nicolas said.
Early morning May 4, combined troops of the 97 and 42IB engaged the NPAs in Siayan Zamboanga del Norte in a gunfight, and recovered an M60 machine gun and other war materiel.