We at the SOF community have a common set of skills and a mastery of unconventional warfare that enable us to recruit enemies and persuade them to switch sides. As the commander of a Special Forces Company deployed during the Marawi Crisis, I was tasked to facilitate the rescue of a Catholic priest, Rev. Father Chito Suganob.
With the information given to us by Lt Col L., I was able to communicate secretly with an enemy who was inside the MBA. My troops and I studied his voice, tried to predict his behavior, and gathered as much information as we could about him.
Upon applying negotiation techniques delivered through a series of Short Message Service (SMS), the enemy with the Codename C1 snapped. He was not ready yet to surrender, but he was convinced that Rev. Fr. Chito Suganob and the other hostages should be released. It was unclear how many of his comrades cooperated with him, but nonetheless, they did so carefully. Through our continuous efforts, some enemies agreed with our scheme to rescue Rev. Fr. Suganob. The enemy guards turned a blind eye as the priest, accompanied by our primary contact, walked through their perimeter defense positions until we arrived at our agreed link-up point.
Although many soldiers had already died doing rescue missions for the hostages, our soldiers were still willing to proceed into the dark, unchartered link-up points for the priest. It was dangerous as the enemy might be pretending to be working with us, while at the same time, they could have only been trying to entrap us or, perhaps, lay us open to an ambush at any given location, which would be to their advantage. We put aside our safety and proceeded with the plan. Before reaching the link-up point, we had to overcome a volume of fire unleashed by the enemies. Though we still had to fight our way out of the link-up area, we were optimistic as we had Rev. Fr. Chito Suganob with us. Rev. Fr. Suganob was finally rescued.
(This entry is part of Chapter 3: Stories from the Frontline.)