Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Guerrilla Unit Incapacitated after Clashes with Troops in Makilala

NSFA Panacan, Davao City – A guerrilla unit of the New People’s Army (NPA) was purged of fighters and firepower following the arrest and surrender of 14 of its members and supporters as a result of the series of clashes with the troops which culminated on May 24 in Makilala, North Cotabato.

The NPA’s Pulang Bagani Command (PBC) was deemed ineffective after its seven high-ranking members were captured and four regular members and another three of its supporters surrendered following the intensive military operations launched by the troops of 39th Infantry Battalion.

The high-ranking members were identified as alias Maruz, PBC Secretary, Sub-Regional Committee 3, Southern Mindanao Regional Committee (SRC-3, SMRC); alias Niña, Platoon Medic; alias Yumi, head of Regional Medical Staff, SMRC and Political Instructor of PBC, SRC3, SMRC; alias Kid, Squad Leader of Segunda, PBC; alias Gleen, Platoon Medic; alias Roy, Vice Commanding Officer; and alias Jal, Team Leader of Baking Squad, PBC, SRC3, SMRC.

The PBC also suffered severe loss of weapons as government troops seized 11 high-powered firearms comprised of M16s, Bushmaster rifles, and M60 machine gun.

The skirmishes first broke out in Brgy. New Israel, Makilala in North Cotabato on May 20 when government forces encountered the members of the guerrilla group to a 20-minute firefight. The clash persisted on May 21 as troops relentlessly pursued the NPAs until this armed group were cornered to a disadvantaged position that resulted to the arrest of four high-ranking NPA members.
As a result of the endless pursuit of the troops against the armed group, the remaining forces of the PBC surrendered separate occasion on May 22, 23, and 24. Four of them surrendered thru the help of the Barangay officials from Biangan, Makilala.

Eastern Mindanao Command (EastMinCom) Commander LTGen. Greg Almerol lauded the troops for their relentless efforts to end the decades of terror brought by the NPA unit in Makilala and for bringing about relevant accomplishments that are conducive to the economic prosperity of communities.

“This accomplishment mirrors the futile attempt of the Communist Terrorist Group to seize power. There is no longer a place for them in the country. The people have grown tired of their violent ideology that has been causing local economies to suffer,” LTGen. Almerol said.

LTGen. Almerol also attributed the success of the operation to the local government officials’ firm support to the military’s campaign to end the communist armed conflict and through the different communities’ active sharing of information to the government forces.

“This time, communities, Local Government Units, and security forces in both cities and rural areas have learned to work together to put an end to the communist insurgency that has only benefitted a few selfish individuals,” LTGen. Almerol added, saying that this culture of Bayanihan has been spurred by the Whole-of-Nation approach to end the local communist armed conflict.

LTGen. Almerol further said that the defeat of PBC has an inter-regional significance and impact, particularly in Regions 11 and 12 and in Davao City, for it only means that there are no longer massive extortion activities and burning of pieces of heavy equipment.

“With the PBC out of the picture, investors and local businessmen will now be at ease knowing that the number one standing block of their businesses has already been eliminated. Likewise, ordinary citizens will now have more job opportunities as a result of the increasing economic activities in the area,” LTGen. Almerol remarked.

Aside from incapacitating the PBC, EastMinCom also neutralized a total of 97 enemies where five were killed, 15 captured, and 64 surrendered. Another 13 of the NPA’s supporters also withdrew their support to the group and pledged their allegiance to the government.

The enemy’s weapons were also reduced as troops seized a total of 50 high-powered and low-powered firearms within the same period all over Eastern Mindanao.

“To the remaining members of the NPA, now is the best time to come forward and surrender peacefully. You will be taken cared of by the government through the different livelihood and financial assistance and scholarship and housing programs, among others from the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program,” LTGen. Almerol urges.

LTGen. Almerol added that EastMinCom will remain steadfast in upholding its mandate of serving the people and securing the land from any threats and will ensure that all areas in Eastern Mindanao that are already cleared from insurgency will remain free from the clutches of the enemies.

EastMinCom also continues to rally for the support of the local government officials and different national government agencies in uplifting the lives of the Filipinos through programs for peace and nation-building initiatives.

Source: Public Information Office, Eastern Mindanao Command, AFP

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