Ex-Abu Sayyaf now a soldier after completing Army training
PAGADIAN CITY, Zamboanga del Sur — A former member of the terrorist group Abu Sayyaf who surrendered to the government is now a full-fledged member of the Philippine Army.
Major General Antonio Nafarrete, commander of the Army’s 1st Infantry Division, said that one of the 363 newly minted soldiers who completed their training at the Camp Cesar Sang-an in Labangan town last Tuesday is a former Abu Sayyaf fighter.
The former Abu, whose identity he kept under wraps for security reasons, surrendered to the authorities, and after a series of processing, qualified to join the Army, Nafarrete said.
Nafarrete said there were already a number of surrenderees who joined the military ad one way to “provide livelihood, and a better future for them and their families (so they can) live a new and better life.”
He added that it is also a means of encouraging those who joined the Abu Sayyaf and fight against the government to surrender.
“And those who wanted to join the military are welcome. They do not have better opportunities in the past, one reason they were successfully recruited. We don’t discriminate, for those who wanted to join the military, for example you are an NPA rebel and you abandon the mountain lairs, and you are qualified, you can join the military,” Nafarrete emphasized.