ILIGAN CITY: A Team Leader of the New People’s Army surrendered to 44th Infantry Battalion in Lower Baluran, Imelda, Zamboanga Sibugay, on Monday afternoon, May 4, 2020.
The NPA 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, one caliber .45 pistol and one magazine.
Penote decided to lay down his arms upon knowing that his former comrades who’ve already surrendered to the unit 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, 44IB commanding officer.
Col Leonel Nicolas, Commander, 102nd Infantry Brigade, pledged to facilitate his enrollment to the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (ECLIP).
“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 today, combined troops of the 97 and 42IB engaged the NPAs in Siayan Zamboanga del Norte and recovered an M60 machine gun and other war materiel.
On his part, Maj General Generoso “Gene” Ponio, Commander, 1st Infantry Division was delighted and welcomed the return of Penote to the mainstream society.
“Penote will be part of the growing number of victims of NPA’s deception that once again chose to live a normal life” said Maj General Ponio.
“I urge the remaining NPA members to follow the path of your comrades who chose to surrender and be with their families in these challenging times. They need you more on this Covid-19 crisis”, added MGen Ponio.