MARAWI CITY, April 23, 2019: Another Dawlah Islamia fighter whose brother was killed during the 2017 Marawi Siege surrendered recently to the Philippine Army’s 55th Infantry Battalion in Madalum, Lanao del Sur.
The surrenderee known only by his alias, ‘Pacong’ (his name withheld by the military), also yielded an M653 rifle, magazines, and ammunition.
Pacong said he was saddened by the death of his brother, who was deceived and recruited by the Maute brothers in Butig to fight in the Marawi Siege.
Pacong underwent a custodial debriefing that was facilitated by military troops.
Meanwhile, three high-powered firearms were also surrendered on Wednesday to the 49th Infantry Battalion through the efforts of Mayor Nasser Pangandaman and other barangay officials of Masiu, Lanao del Sur.
49th IB commander Lt. Col. Edgar Allan Villanueva said the mayor formally turned over two RPG launchers, a Colt M203, and ammunition.
The firearms were brought to the 49IB headquarters for proper safekeeping and disposition, Villanueva said.
103rd Infantry Brigade Commander Colonel Romeo Brawner said, “With the confirmed death of Abu Dar, we expect more Dawlah Islamiya members and supporters to surrender.”
“We encourage them to surrender or cooperate with the local government units if they are afraid or are intimidated by our forces, or if they do not want to suffer the fate of their comrades,” added Brawner.
Brigadier General Roberto Ancan, Joint Task Force ZamPeLan Commander, commended the efforts of the troops and the local government for the successful surrender of the Dawlah Islamiya supporter and the turnover of the loose firearms.
“Your JTF ZamPeLan, in collaboration with the local government units and other stakeholders, remains steadfast in its commitment to attain just and lasting peace in our area of operation through our campaign against the Dawlah Islamiya-Lanao group and against loose firearms in Mindanao,” said Ancan.
“Likewise, we thank them for their continued trust and support for our troops in contributing peace and development in the whole province of Lanao del Sur,” Ancan added.
Lieutenant General Arnel Dela Vega, Western Mindanao Command chief, said: “Pacong made a prudent decision in renouncing his support for the Dawlah Islamiya. We are elated to welcome and assist Pacong and the rest of the returnees who are working hand in hand with our troops and the people of Mindanao.”
“I also ascribe this feat to the commitment and the convergence of our ground forces and our partners in the operational area. Their diligence and conviction really paid off as evinced by the progress that we are making in our internal security campaign that brought down terrorist groups, including the Dawlah Islamiya-Maute, in Mindanao,” he added.
“We assure you that our offensives against spoilers of peace are being sustained in Mindanao,” said Dela Vega.
(MASIDING NOOR YAHYA)
(MASIDING NOOR YAHYA)