Westmincom officials, ASG surrenderers share 'boodle fight' meal

By Teofilo Garcia, Jr.

November 21, 2019, 11:23 am

BACK TO MAINSTREAM SOCIETY. Officials of the Western Mindanao Command and 39 Abu Sayyaf Group surrenderers share a meal in a 'boodle fight' in Camp Basilio Navarro in Zamboanga City. The activity is part of the reintegration program of the former ASG bandits. (Photo courtesy of Westmincom PIO)

ZAMBOANGA CITY -- Officials of the Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) and 39 Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) surrenderers shared a meal in a "boodle fight" in this southern port city on Tuesday.

Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, Westmincom chief, said the "boodle fight" held at the Westmincom headquarters in Camp Basilio Navarro here is part of the psychosocial program before their integration into mainstream society.

Sobejana said the event took place after the 39 ASG surrenderers arrived from a five-day exposure tour in different parts of Luzon.

He said the meal symbolized camaraderie, brotherhood, and equality among the military personnel and surrenderers.

“We conduct activities like this (boodle fight) to ensure that" former bandits "are given adequate support and psychosocial treatment.”

“It is deemed necessary for them to be guided and educated of their roles as they return to the mainstream of society,” the Army official added.

Brig. Gen. Generoso Ponio, Westmincom deputy commander for operations and Col. Leonardo Peña, chief of Unified Command Staff, were among the top officials, aside from Sobejana, who graced the "boodle fight."

Meanwhile, Maj. Alfie Alonzo, Joint Task Force Basilan chief for Civil-Military Operations, said the five-day exposure tour provided the ASG surrenderers with new experience, learning, and exposure to peaceful environments.

Among the places they toured from Nov. 13 to 18 were Quezon City; Bulacan; Baguio City; La Trinidad, Benguet; and, Los Baños, Laguna.

Alonzo and six of his staff accompanied the ASG surrenderers during the tour. (PNA)