Two Maute-IS member, one being a child warrior, surrendered to elements of the Philippine Army’s 49th “Good Samaritans” Infantry Battalion based in Butig, Lanao del Sur at around 3P:00M yesterday, January 24, 2019.
The surrender came amidst focused-military operations in the adjacent municipality of Sultan Dumalandong.
The two returnees, Hussein, 17 and Ashlani, 34, were recruited and trained by the Maute brothers sometime in 2013 at Brgy. Sandab, Butig, Lanao del Sur.
According to Lt. Col. Edgar Allan S Villanueva, Commanding Officer of the 49th Infantry Battalion, the duo surrendered in fear that they might be targeted for the next military operations.
“Takot kami na baka isunod nalang kami sa operation. Iniwan nalang kami ng mga leader pagkatapos nung encounter namin. Wala narin kami matakbuhan kaya sumuko nalang kami.” (We were afraid that we will be operated on next. We were left by our leaders after one of our encounters. We have nowhere to run so we opted to surrender), said Ashlani.
Their surrender was facilitated by the Joint Ceasefire Monitoring Post (JCMP) and the local community.
Relationships between the military and the local populace were also positively reinforced through intensified Civil-Military Operations conducted by units in the area.
“We have intensified our Civil-Military Operations to build good rapport with the populace in the area,” Lt. Col. Villanueva said.
“Out here, it is not just about fighting the enemy, but also how to win communities – and that truly made a big impact when it comes to the accomplishing our mission,” Lt. Col. Villanueva said.
The returnees expressed their fear of government troops but was convinced to lay down their arms after referring to other locals.
“Nung una, natatakot kami na magsurender dahil baka saktan nila kami, pero sabi naman samin ng mga tao na mabait naman daw ang mga sundalo sa area. Masaya kami dahil tinatrato kami ng maayos ng ating kasundaluhan. (At first we were afraid to surrender because the soldiers might hurt us, but we were told that soldiers in the area were kind. We are happy that we are being treated well by our soldiers),” Ashlani said.
“Ngayon na nagsurrender na kami, makakatulog na kami at ang pamiliya namin ng maayos. Kung kailangan na panagutan namin ang ginawa namin, tatanggapin namin ang kapalaran namin. (Now that we have surrendered, we can sleep well without worrying about our and our family’s safety, if we have to face justice, then we will accept our fate),” Ashlani said.