Fort Magsaysay, Nueva Ecija –Twelve former rebels (FRs) and 26 captured, confiscated, surrendered or recovered (CCSR) firearms were presented to the Army & PNP leadership and the media during a Press Briefing held at the Kaugnay Multi-Purpose Hall, Officer’s Club House of the 7th Infantry (Kaugnay) Division, Philippine Army in Fort Ramon Magsaysay, Nueva Ecija, at 10:20 a.m. today, December 21.
The FRs presented were alias Alex, alias Roel, alias Ninoy, alias Megan, alias Junrey, alias Charlie, alias Dave, alias Coco, alias Yong, alias Sam, alias Kevin and alias Olili who all surrendered to the 7ID’s 703rd Infantry (Agila) Brigade.
Of the CCSR firearms, 23 are light weapon, while 3 are small arms. The firearms were gained thru the surrender of the aforementioned FRs.
Prior to the presentation, a christening of the daughter of alias Megan and alias Ninoy was held at the St. John the Worker Chapel of 7ID. The Christening was hosted by the 7ID as a sign of goodwill to the former rebels who are now cooperating with the government, are eager to give their daughter a peaceful life, away from the hardships and dangers of being a rebel.
Standing as benevolent godfathers to the seven-month old child of the FR couple were Lieutenant General Ramiro Manuel A. Rey, Commander of Northern Luzon Command, together with Major General Lenard T. Agustin, Commander, 7ID; Police Brigadier General Rhodel Orden Sermonia, Police Regional Office 3 (PRO3) Regional Director; Colonel Andrew D. Costelo, Commander, 703rd Infantry (Agila) Brigade, 7ID, PA; Police Colonel Leon Victor Zamora Rosete, Provincial Director, Nueva Ecija Police Provincial Office; Lieutenant Colonel Jose Mari F. Torrenueva II, Commanding Officer, 91st Infantry (Sinagtala) Battalion, 7ID, PA; Police Lieutenant Dennis C. Wenceslao, Battalion Commander, 1st Provincial Mobile Force Company; Police Colonel Raul C. Siriban, Provincial Director, Police Provincial Office, Aurora; and, Police Senior Master Sargeant Ryan C. Brillantes, Platoon Executive Senior Police Officer (ESPO), 1st Platoon Mobile Force Company, NEPPO.
The same set of officers mentioned above were likewise the resource persons during the Press Conference that followed right after the christening.
During the Press Conference, Lt. Gen. Rey conveyed that he is glad that the FRs chose to surrender and start a new life. He said that he would rather see them alive and working hard to live peacefully than discover them in a cold, unmarked grave, with nothing to identify them with. He encouraged the FRs to communicate with their active comrades and convince them to surrender.
Near the end of the conference, Maj. Gen. Agustin said, “Truly, what we have is a working government…we understand your strength, so kindly help us (addressing the media)…tell our people that we are doing our best so that we can finally end this local armed conflict.” He further goes on to say that they (the Army) are not happy when an enemy dies, for at the end of the day, they still are fellow Filipinos.