Friday, April 1, 2022

NPA's 3rd guerilla unit fully collapses as remnants yield to EastMinCom troops

NSFA, Panacan, Davao City - Eastern Mindanao Command (EastMinCom) under the leadership of LtGen. Greg T. Almerol has announced the total collapse of another Guerilla Front (GF) of the Communist Terrorist Group (CTG) in his area of responsibility after its top-ranking leader and remaining members surrendered to the troops of 10th Infantry Division’s (10th ID) 1001st Infantry Brigade (Bde), 60th Infantry Battalion (IB), intel units, and local government officials in Asuncion, Davao del Norte on March 31.

The CTG leader identified as Maximo Catarata, the Secretary of Guerilla Front 3 (GF3) of Sub-Regional Committee 4 (SRC4), Southern Mindanao Regional Committee (SMRC) operating in the tri-boundaries of Agusan del Sur, Davao de Oro, and Davao del Norte.

His surrender came after three of his members namely Emy Ansag Camilo, Nilo Oyda Moluhinday, and Reyan Bagubay Moluhinday also yielded to the troops of 60th IB two days prior.

It can be recalled that on February 26, 13 members of the same guerilla unit led by Renard Galos Catarata, Commanding Officer and son of Maximo Catarata, also laid down their arms to government forces due to hunger and physical exhaustion caused by the intensified military operations of EastMinCom.

LtGen. Almerol said that the total surrender and collapse of GF3 is significant to the current campaign of EastMinCom against the extortion and other illegal activities of the CTG during the election season.

“The GF3 is the second most important unit of the CTG that provides high revenue to their terrorist movement through extortion activities. Its total collapse assures us that there will be peaceful, secure, and fair elections in communities they have previously terrorized," he said.

On the other hand, a report from concerned citizens on the presence of armed individuals extorting food and money from farmers prompted the 36th IB under the 901st Brigade to launch a security operation in the hinterlands of Brgy. San Vicente, Carmen, Surigao del Sur on March 29.

The troops' response led to a 15-minute firefight against the CTG, which resulted in the seizure of an M16 rifle, a Carbine rifle, a Cal. 22 rifle, a Cal 45 pistol, four Anti-Personnel Mines (APM) with 6 detonating cords and 6 blasting caps, several ammunition, other war materiel, subversive documents, and some medical supplies.

The said encounter came after LtGen. Almerol directed his ground units to intensify their security operations and strictly monitor any terrorist groups that would conduct extortion activities.

“I have already directed all unit Commanders under the EastMinCom to be extra vigilant in their respective areas. We will be addressing security threats posed by the CTG and LTGs who may disrupt elections through intimidation, harassment, vote-buying, and through their permit-to-win, and permit-to-campaign schemes,” he previously said.

In a separate incident, troops of the 402nd Brigade's 23rd IB also recovered four AK47 rifles, an M1 Garand rifle, several magazines, and ammunitions after they unearthed an arms cache at Sitio Mahogany, Brgy. Ibuan, Las Nieves, Agusan del Norte on March 28 through the help of a surrenderee who revealed its location.

The former rebel identified as Mary Joy Gabon surrendered earlier to the troops after she was wounded on her left calf during the series of encounters launched by the troops of 23IB in the area.

Meanwhile, LtGen. Almerol said that the series of encounters followed by the seizure of firearms and surrender reveals the degraded morale and condition of the CTG members at the hands of their current leaders who are incapable of leading them.

"The series of neutralization of the CTG's high-ranking leaders have left them with inexperienced ones. They are no longer experts in military tactics but are only bandits and extortionists," the EastMinCom Commander said.

He also called out the remaining members of the CTG to "rethink if their stay in the terrorist movement with their incompetent leaders is worth dying."

"Surrender now and avail the benefits of the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) instead of sacrificing your lives while your families are suffering," he added.

Meanwhile, LtGen. Almerol assured that they will continue intensifying their security operations to secure the elections in May and end the local communist armed conflict in June.

"While we are finalizing our task to finish the remaining strongholds of the CTG in Eastern Mindanao, it is also our priority to ensure a secure, accurate, and free election this year to comply with the marching order of our Commander in Chief, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte," he said.

Source: Public Information Office, Eastern Mindanao Commmand, AFP

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