NPA CAMP SEIZED IN BATANGAS, REBEL YIELDS IN MINDORO
CNC PHOTO CREDITS
CAMP GENERAL MATEO CAPINPIN, Tanay, Rizal --- Troops of the 1st Infantry Battalion (1IB) overran a New People’s Army (NPA) Communist Terrorist Group encampment Sunday mid-afternoon in Barangay Tubahan, Rosario, Batangas.
Lt. Col. Jonathan S. Manio, commanding officer of 1IB, said the troops were conducting Focused Military Operation (FMO), after receiving verified intelligence reports and information from concerned citizens of the NPA presence and its alleged extortion activities in the village, when the camp fell.
While scouring the area, they chanced upon 10 armed men believed to be members of the NPA Platoon Galaxy, Kilusang Larangan Guerilla Silangan, Sub-Regional Military Area (SRMA) 4C of the Southern Tagalog Regional Party Committee under Janice Javier alias Salma, which triggered a 30-minute fire fight.
The gun battle resulted in the wounding of Corporal Richard Solayao and Pfc Jeffrey Balangoy, who incurred minor gunshot wounds in the hand and leg. Both are now in stable condition after medical treatment.
Government troops said there were casualties from the enemy side due to the traces of heavy blood stains at the battle site.
The troops seized the enemy camp after the NPA rebels retreated from the battle site while carryingtheir wounded comrades.
An M16 rifle, two anti-personnel mines, three bandoleers, five jungle packs and subversive enemy documents were recovered by the troops after the rebels abandoned the area.
Brig. Gen. Arnulfo Marcelo B Burgos Jr., Commander of the 202nd Brigade that has operational jurisdiction over Calabarzon, said the encounter is another major setback to the remaining NPAs in Batangas. The rebel group is now on the verge of collapse.
In another development, the Philippine Army’s 2nd Infantry “Jungle Fighter” Division (2ID) reported the surrender of an active NPA member Sunday to the troops of the 76th Infantry (Victrix) Battalion (76IB) in Occidental Mindoro.
Lt. Col. Mario Lito I. Retirva, commanding officer of 76IB, identified the surrenderer as alias Saba, vice squad leader of Platoon Falcon operating in the northern areas of Occidental Mindoro.
Saba later revealed the arm cache of the NPA hidden and buried in the mountainous part of Purok Mamburao, Sitio Culasisi, Barangay Batongbuhay, Sablayan, Occ Mindoro.
Five serviceable M16 rifles were immediately recovered by the troops at the site.
In an interview, Saba said that he returned to the folds of law after three years of being an active NPA member, recruiter and extortionist after realizing that “what they were doing to the people is adverse to the ideology they believed.”
“Mali na ‘yong mga ginagawa namin, sir. Pahirap kami sa mga mamamayan. Marami na rin sa aking mga kasamahan sa loob ang nahihirapan at nais nang bumaba at batid na namin na mayroong magandang programa ang pamahalaan para sa aming pagbabalik loob (What we did were wrong, sir. We were a burden to the citizenry. Many of our comrades are already suffering difficulties and want to return to the mainstream after learning of the good programs of the government for our surrender and return to the fold of law), " he said.
“Bilang patunay na ako ay seryosong makikipagtulungan sa gobyerno natin sir, hukayin natin ‘yong mga nakatagong mga baril ng mga kasamahan ko, sir (as proof of my sincerity to help our government, sir, let us unearth those firearms were buried by my comrades, sir),” he added.
Brig. Gen. Antonio G. Parlade Jr., commander of the 203rd Brigade in Mindoro, said the latest NPA surrenderer and recovery of five other high-powered firearms are clear manifestations that the localized peace negotiation with the rebels in the province and the Community Support Program (CSP) of the troops and the Local Government Unit (LGU) are effective.
Also, Maj. Gen. Rhoderick Parayno, commander of the Philippine Army's 2nd Infantry “Jungle Fighter” Division (2ID), lauded the efforts of the 76IB and the 1IB, especially the bravery of the wounded soldiers.
“We will relentlessly pursue these remnant terrorists until they are destroyed, caught or left no choice but surrender. We will treat their wounded and we will help those who choose to surrender like their former comrades who are now enjoying the benefits of ECLIP together with their families,” Parayno vowed.
Under the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (ECLIP), a former rebel can receive PHP15,000 immediate cash assistance, PHP50,000 livelihood assistance, firearms remuneration, have access to housing, loans, medical and legal assistance, among others. It also includes educational benefits, which can be extended to the rebel's immediate family members. (PNA)