Cebu News

Cebuano rebel leader surrenders in Tuburan

- Ria Mae Y. Booc, Gregg Rubio -

CEBU, Philippines - The military yesterday turned over a rebel returnee from Davao Oriental to the local officials of the Municipality of Tuburan, a previously known rebel-infested town in the Province of Cebu.

Major Juanito Abecia, Jr., executive officer of the 78th Infantry Battalion, turned over to Mayor Democrito Diamante 21-year-old Dennis dela Cerna Basera, also known as Kumander Orig and James, vice commanding officer of platoon of Guerilla Front 18 operating in Davao Oriental.

It was Basera’s uncle, a certain Ramil Donios who is a former barangay tanod and resident of barangay Marmol, Tuburan, Cebu, who convinced Basera to surrender.

Basera reportedly resisted at first, fearing he would be tortured by the military.

“Pasalamat wa ko pasakiti sa military (I’m thankful the military did not hurt me),” said Basera in his speech after the turnover ceremony.

Basera was enlightened by his uncle who immediately contacted their relative, Tuburan Councillor Renante dela Cerna, to assist him regarding his plan to surrender.

Dela Cerna then informed Diamante regarding the matter and on April 16, 2011, Diamante contacted Lt. Col. Nolasco Mempin, commander of the 78th of the Philippine Army based in Balamban.

On April 18 and with the assistance of Diamante, Basera voluntarily surrendered to the 78th IB and immediately underwent tactical interrogation.

Abecia said they conducted a thorough investigation on Basera and coordinated with military officials in Davao Oriental. They found him to be an authentic guerrilla member of the New People’s Army residing at sitio Banahaw, barangay Sudlon, Mati, Davao Oriental.

Diamante thanked Basera for surrendering and assured him of his security. He handed over P10,000 cash assistance to Basera to start a livelihood for his new life.

The mayor said he considers hiring Basera as a job order worker during the renewal of contracts at the municipal government; may find him a job in his personal business.

Basera has a live-in partner in Tuburan but has no children. At age 16, a certain Andrea Danias, a Bayan Muna organizer in Mati, Davao Oriental, told him that he was in the watchlist of the NPA for liquidation for reason that he was a known drug user in their barangay.

The said organizer told him that he better go with her to meet the armed group to avoid liquidation and get safety.

From thereon, he was given orientation and immediately issued with an M16 rifle for his protection.

He arrived in Cebu on April 10, 2011 and stayed at the house of his grandfather, Lito Gallarde, in sitio Dao, barangay Marmol in Tuburan prior to his surrender.

The surrender of Basera is a big loss to the NPA, said Lieutenant Eric Pidazo, Civil Military Operation officer of the 78th Infantry Battalion.

"They will have leadership crisis on their part due to the surrender of the second highest rank man of the group," Pidazo told The FREEMAN. 

 The Philippine Army encourages members and leaders of the NPA to surrender, assuring them of their safety.

Pizado said Basera will be evaluated first by the town's Provincial Social Welfare and Development to determine his skills before he will be given a livelihood program.

He will also be assisted by the Department of Interior and Local Government. — (FREEMAN)












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