Wednesday, June 17, 2020

NPAs Surrender, Firearms Seized as EastMinCom Ups Operations Tempo

NSFA, Panacan, Davao City - Communist Terrorist Groups (CTG) continue to suffer heavy losses and decline in manpower and firearms as Army forces in the provinces of Davao de Oro and Misamis Oriental ramp up their operations to end the local insurgency.

In two separate incidents that transpired over the week, 8 high powered firearms were recovered and at least 6 NPAs surrendered to the government in what insider sources describe as near-collapse of two NPA Guerilla Fronts in the said areas.

JTF Agila and JTF Diamond, the two units under Eastern Mindanao Command (Eastmincom), attributed this success to the combination of tactical proficiency of the operating troops, breakdown of control of the NPA commanders within their ranks, and awakening of the people in the countryside especially the Indigenous Peoples (IP) to the deceptions perpetrated by the CTG.

LTGEN JOSE C FAUSTINO JR, Commander of Eastmincom in his statement released to the media, was quoted saying, “the NPA leadership and its entire command and support structure is close to breaking point. They did not only lose their mass base support but they themselves have gone tired of the lies perpetrated by their own propaganda machinery.”

This is the main reason why two NPA team leaders identified as alias Michael and Niko decided to surrender to the 23rd Infantry Battalion (IB) on June 11, 2020, after experiencing hunger, exhaustion, and fear from their former NPA comrades. Sensing sincerity of the government troops, the two immediately led the soldiers to the location of the arms cache composed of one AK47 rifle, one M14 rifle, one M16 rifle, one M1 Garand rifle, one laptop, and eight cellular phones hidden in a remote area in Gingoog City, Misamis Oriental.

Lt. Gen. Faustino further pointed out, “before, the NPAs used to brag that they will never run out of fighters and that the well (of potential recruits) will never run dry because of the presence of the Indigenous Peoples. Today, the reality on the ground indicates otherwise. Our forces, together with our stakeholders, have come to address the CTG's mode of recruitment head-on. Now, the IP tribal communities started to rise-up against them.”

In another development, an encounter erupted between the troops of 25IB and an undetermined number of NPA at Brgy. Tapia, Davao de Oro in the early morning of June 14, 2020, after a concerned citizen reported that a group of NPA was seen foraging in the said area.

The gun battle resulted in the recovery of one AK47 rifle, one M653 rifle, two M16 Bushmaster rifle, two Magazines of AK47, 30 rounds of cal 5.56 ammunition, and other personal belongings.

Eastern Mindanao has been a hotbed of communist insurgency for decades. But the security landscape started to improve when Community Support Programs (CSP) anchored on the whole-of-nation approach became the foundation of the government's campaign to clear "mass base areas" inside Ancestral Domains from the influence of the CTG.

“Rest assured that Eastmincom will remain steadfast in its efforts to attain a peaceful environment, free from the dangers of the CTG's coercion and intimidation,” Lt. Gen. Faustino added.

Source: Public Information Office, Eastern Mindanao Command, AFP

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