6 ASG bandits surrender in Sulu

By Teofilo Garcia, Jr.

July 26, 2019, 7:28 pm

ZAMBOANGA CITY -- The Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) has suffered another blow as six of the group’s members have separately surrendered amid the continuous focused military operations against them in Sulu, officials said Friday.

Lt. Col. Gerald Monfort, Joint Task Force Sulu spokesperson, said one of the six ASG bandits surrendered Tuesday while the other five yielded on Wednesday.

Monfort said the six handed over three caliber .30 M1 Garand rifles when they surrendered to Brig. Gen. Francisco Ariel Felicidario III, Army’s 11th Infantry Division assistant commander.

Monfort said the ASG surrenderers told military authorities they were compelled to surrender out of fear from the continuous combat operations, as well as the declining support from the civilian populace.

Several ASG bandits have also expressed disillusionment with the ASG hierarchy and many others are just waiting for proper timing to escape, the military official said.

He said two of the six ASG surrenderers, aged 20 and 19 bared they were lured to join the organization when they were still in their teens.

Monfort said the ASG surrenderers were brought to the Camp Teodulfo Bautista Station Hospital for medical check-up. They will be registered with the government’s Assistance Program for former rebels to receive benefits and to be reintegrated back into society.

Maj. Gen. Corleto Vinluan Jr., Joint Task Force Sulu commander, said the ASG is now feeling the pressure of the government’s anti-terror campaign.

“The AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) and the entire peace-loving Tausug community have united to end the ASG problem in Sulu. Hence, I am confident that our mandate to crush them by the end of this year will materialize,” he said.

President Rodrigo Duterte has given the AFP until December this year to destroy the ASG in the provinces of Sulu and Basilan. (PNA)