Sunday, February 6, 2022

Dwindling leadership led anew to surrender of 15 NPAs, recovery of high-powered firearms

NSFA, Panacan, Davao City – As the leadership of the Communist Terrorist Group (CTG) in Eastern Mindanao weakens further following the series of neutralization of their top-ranking leaders, due to the relentless focused military operations directed by LtGen. Greg T. Almerol, the Commander of Eastern Mindanao Command (EastMinCom) to his forces, another 15 CTG members capitulated to the troops in the previous week bringing along their high-powered firearms.

The successful military operations launched by the troops of the 4th Infantry Division’s 403rd Brigade and 1st Special Forces Battalion (1SFBn) in Bukidnon has led to the surrender of twelve high-ranking leaders and members of Guerilla Front (GF) 68B, SRC4, and SRC5 of the North Central Mindanao Regional Committee on February 4, 2022.

The surrenderees were identified as Ponduwa Domino Hangadon alias Kayleb, Political Guide of Squad 1, Ace Company; Garry Balansi Ampoan alias Liyab, Head of Education and Propaganda of Sub-Regional Sentro De Grabidad (SRSDG) Crackers Company; Jobert Culentas Manlapitao alias Lance, Team Leader of Squad 1, Platun Uno, SRSDG Crackers Company; Chriza Baliling Paluga, alias Enchang, Medical Officer; John Almier Cumad Semini alias Jazz, Political Guide of Squad 1; Jason Valcorza Omongos alias Araw, Political Guide of Squad 2, Platun Uno; Cristine Baliling Paluga, alias Lexie, Political Guide of Squad 2, Platun Dos; Ariel Ochea Capin alias Arjen, Platun Leader of Platun Dos; Omar Talha Binongcasan alias Hydra, member of Squad 1, Ace Company; Reymund Jiminez Belarmino alias Saysay, member of Squad 1, Platun Dos; Jerson Sayana Ontihay alias Sawie, member of Squad 1, Platun Dos; and Niño Baliling Paluga alias Loyd, member of Squad 2, Platun Dos.

They also yielded five high-powered firearms composed of two AK47 rifles and three M16 rifles with magazines and ammunition.

This was immediately followed by the surrender of three CTG members who brought along an AK47 rifle, a Shotgun, and a Garand rifle with a scope to the troops of 901st Brigade’s 29th Infantry Battalion (IB) at Brgy Del Pilar, Cabadbaran City, Agusan del Norte on February 5.

They were identified as alias Zhia, the Vice Commanding Officer and Political Instructor of Sandatahang Yunit Pampropaganda (SYP) 16B, GF16 of North Eastern Mindanao Regional Committee (NEMRC); a certain alias Jing who is Zhia’s father and a Milisyang Bayan (MB) member of SYP19B, GF19 of NEMRC; and alias Dondon, a member of SYP16A, GF16.

EastMinCom has also diminished further the armed capability of the CTG as the troops of 402nd Brigade’s 23rd IB seized four AK47 rifles, an M14 rifle, five anti-personnel mines, a rifle grenade, two 20-liter containers of assorted ammunition, assorted medical supplies, personal belongings, subversive documents with intel value and other war materiel after an armed encounter transpired at Sitio Tud-ol, Barangay Tungao, Butuan City on February 4, which came after concerned citizens reported the presence of an armed group in the said area.

Another high-powered firearms recovered by the troops of 701st Brigade’s 67th IB and intel units, which contains an M14 rifle and two AK47 rifles with four empty magazines as a former leader of the dissolved GF North of SMRC revealed its location of an arms cache at the hinterlands of Sitio Cogonon, Brgy Salvacion, Trento, Agusan Del Sur on February 5.

Meanwhile, troops of the 10th Infantry Division’s 1002nd Brigade and 73rd IB also recovered an M16 rifle and an AK47 rifle after the troops acted upon the revelation of former rebels on their location of an arms cache at Brgy Malalan, Jose Abad Santos, Davao Occidental on February 3.

It can be recalled that LtGen. Almerol previously assessed that a snowball of surrender is possible as the CTG, particularly in the area of Bukidnon, is on the verge of collapse following the successive neutralization of its top-ranking leaders such as Ka Oris, Ka Bok, and Ka Gonyong who served as the pillars of their organization.

“Our troops will never stop pursuing the remaining CTGs until the terror they bring in the peace-loving Filipino and communities in Eastern Mindanao are completely extinguished. They have no other choice but to surrender or die away from their loved ones,” he said.

He also bared that the CTG’s continued decrease in manpower prompted its members to hide their firearms in caches which can be easily captured by the troops as former rebels divulge their location, while the continued support of civilians to the troops by serving as the eyes and ears in their community has contributed to successful encounters which led to the neutralization of communist terrorists and capture of their firearms.

“The civilians and former rebels, who now serve as our partners contributed a lot to our unprecedented accomplishments. Evident to this is the series of armed encounters, the capture of CTG’s firearms, and the massive surrender which is the result of timely reporting and the active support of the local chief executives. If this will continue in the coming days, we are very optimistic that we can achieve the goal of ending the local communist armed conflict by mid-year of 2022,” LtGen. Almerol expressed.

The EastMinCom Commander also welcomed the peaceful surrender of CTG leaders and members and called upon their remaining comrades to “emulate the example of those who have already chosen the path of peace by embracing the government’s sincere offer through the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) to start a new life with your loved ones.” ###

Source: Public Information Office, Eastern Mindanao Command, AFP

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