Friday, July 31, 2020

Another NPA Surrenders, Reveals Ammo Cache, IED in Davao de Oro

MAWAB, Davao de Oro - The Army's 71st Infantry Battalion (71IB) under the leadership of Lt. Col. Sonny E. Gonzales has helped another NPA member break free from the clutches of the New People's Army's deception and abuse. Following his realization that the 71IB is true to its commitment of helping those NPA members who decide to live a peaceful life, alias David reveals an ammo cache and an improvised explosive device (IED) at Km 13 Brgy Cabuyoan, Mabini, Davao de Oro, July 27, 2020.

Troops of 71IB successfully recovered the said cache which contains 114 rounds of cal .50 live ammunition and a 15-kg IED. Said war materiel is in the 71IB for proper disposition.

David (true name hidden on purpose), 22, is a resident of Brgy Cabuyoan, Mabini, Davao de Oro, and was a member of the Weakened Guerilla Front 2 of the NPA. He voluntarily surrendered due to the hardship, hunger and fatigue he experienced in NPA.

"Kapoy na kaayo og gutom sa taas sir," he said in his dialect. (I could no longer bear the tiresomeness and hunger we were experiencing there.)

A week earlier, the other NPA member surrendered with a high powered firearm.

In a statement, LTC Sonny Gonzales, Commanding Officer of the 71IB mentioned that the successive surrender of the NPA members manifests the further weakening of the Weakened Guerilla Front 2 in the area of operations of 71IB.

"The enemy we are confronting continues to become weaker following the successive surrender of the regular members. Their firepower as well has been significantly reduced. One more blow and we can finally defeat WGF2," Lt. Col. Gonzales said with a strong determination

As he condemns the NPA for using prohibited weapons like IED, Lt. Col. Gonzales reminded his troops to be extra careful in hunting the remaining insurgents.

"Be very careful in our military operations. The NPA doesn't respect any human rights law or rules of engagement. They continue to use IED to inflict damage," he added.

The use of IED is a violation of the Comprehensive Agreement of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law. It was also a violation of RA 9851, An Act Defining and Penalizing Crimes against Humanitarian Law, Genocide, and other Crimes against Humanity especially on the use of weapons prohibited in warfare such as landmines.

On the other hand, the 71IB continues to welcome and assist the remaining insurgents who choose to lay down their arms and live a peaceful life.

At present, the unit is facilitating three Former Rebels for the enrollment to the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program which offers cash and livelihood assistance.

The 71IB area of operations covers the municipalities of Mawab, Maco, Mabini, Pantukan, and 4 barangays of Nabunturan, all of Davao de Oro and Tagum City of Davao del Norte.

Source: Civil-Military Operations Office, 71st Infantry Battalion, 7th Infantry Division, PA

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