From the Philippine Information Agency (May 13, 2020): Another 'Red' surrenders to 61IB amid COVID pandemic (By Jemin B. Guillermo)
ILOILO CITY, May 13 (PIA) – Another member of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) terrorist returned to the folds of law.
In a press release of the 61st Infantry Battalion (61IB), Acting Civil Military Operation Acting Officer 2nd Lieutenant Sara Ma Cerna said that another member of the CPP-NPA terrorists (CNTs) from Tubungan, Iloilo voluntarily surrendered to their Battalion, May 12, amid the coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19).
She said that Tubungan mayor Roquito Tacsagon personally facilitated the surrender of his "Kasimanwa" (constituent) with the assistance of 61IB.
According to her, Lt. Colonel Joel Benedict Batara, 61IB Commanding Officer of the 61IB, identified the surrenderer as “Botoy” (not his real name), 35 years old and a member of Sibat (SYP) Platoon, Southern Front, Komiteng Rehiyon-Panay.
The intensified military operations launched by the government troops in Panay Island forced these NPA rebels to return to the folds of the law,” Batara said.
Botoy, she said, revealed that his realization of living a normal life together with his family gave him the courage to abandon the armed struggle.
Meanwhile, Batara commended “Botoy” for his bravery and determination of returning to the folds of the government especially during this trying time when his family needs him the most.
"We warmly welcome him because he is just a victim of the CNTs' propaganda and deception. And most of all, we want him to fulfill his dream of having a normal and peaceful life," he said.
He also assured the public that the Army’s 61IB with the support of the local government units will continue to encourage the remaining CNT members to lay down their arms and give peace a chance," Batara added.
He added that their battalion will assist “Botoy” his enrollment in the Enhanced- Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) for him start a new life.
He will also receive assistance from LGU-Tubungan through its integration program dubbed "Project ROKIT."
On May 2 , alias Ken, a 20-year old new recruit of the CNTs’ Suyak Platoon also yielded to 61IB after surviving the encounter at Sitio Anoy, Barangay Cabalaunan, Miagao, Iloilo last April 18, 2020, Cerna said. (JBG/PIA6/611B-PA)