CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (January 19, 2024/PIA) –The Philippine National Police (PNP) uncovered five M16 rifles, 38 assorted magazines, a caliber 45 pistol, firearm parts, and rounds of ammunition hidden underground by the New People’s Army-Communist Terrorist Group (NPA-CTG) under Platoon Mercedes, Sub-Regional Committee 5 of the North Central Mindanao Regional Committee (SRC5-NCMRC)
The joint operation of Area Police Command-Eastern Mindanao Cagayan de Oro Satellite Office; Regional Mobile Force Battalion (RMFB)-10; 1st Bukidnon Provincial Mobile Force Company (PMFC); and Barangay Dominorog’s Revitalized-Pulis sa Barangay led the recovery of the communist terrorist group’s (CTG) arms cache, early morning of January 6 this year in the hinterlands of San Rafael village in Talakag, Bukidnon.
Police Colonel Ramil Montilla, APC-EM executive officer, credited the discovery and recovery of firearms to former New People’s Army members who surrendered and narrated the hardships they faced and their families’ miseries while they were with the NPA-CTG as combatants.
“Malaki ang impact nitong recovered firearms kasi nabawasan ang kanilang capabilities na magwagi against the government forces. Malaking kawalan ito sa kanila. (The recovered firearms have a significant impact on the rebels, reducing their ability to oppose government forces—a substantial loss for them),” Montilla said.
He explained that all recovered firearms will undergo ballistic testing to check for previous use in crimes. Those records, he said, will also undergo cross-referencing in the PNP’s Firearms and Explosives Unit for any existing information.
Weakening of rebel group
The government forces succeed after two operations against the NPA-CTG in just one week.
Montilla said the credit also goes to the APC-EM for their focused efforts, the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ intensified military operations, and the relentless law enforcement of the Philippine National Police that forced the rebels to move around to avoid detection and arrest.
The government’s whole-of-nation strategy, outlined in EO 70 that addressed concerns in geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas (GIDAs), encouraged the mass surrender of former rebels and supporters.
Similarly, the Revitalized Pulis sa Barangay deployment in GIDAs establishes safe and conflict-resilient communities.
Montilla also said that the presence of the R-PSB in NPA-infiltrated areas encouraged the former rebels to divulge information to authorities, which lessened the terrorists’ foothold in the area.
“It demonstrates that the CTG has no identified mass bases to rely on. The people’s view toward public safety forces is noticeable,” he said.
In retaliation of NPA-CTGs
Brigadier General Michele Anayron, 403rd brigade commander, said that after two successful operations on December 25 and January 6, the government forces, including the APC-EM CDO SATO, are prepared for any potential retaliation by the NPA rebels.
However, Anayron emphasized that if one would look at the NPA-CTG’s pattern of retaliation in the past, most were against vulnerable soft targets.
“Since there are ongoing development projects like road opening and concreting, contractors are being targeted. In April, at Sitio Mahagwa, Barangay Hagpa, Impasugong town, the said group committed an act of terrorism by burning two units of backhoe. We are actively pursuing them, collaborating with the PNP Mobile Force in an ongoing joint operation,” Anayron said.
The APC-EM urges the community and business sector to report any CTG group sightings to prevent potential criminal acts.
The APC-EM and 403rd Infantry Brigade call on active NPA members and CTG-affiliated groups to abandon armed struggles, emphasizing the government’s readiness to assist them and their families through various programs. (Jan Albert K. Araña/PIA10)