Authorities retrieved 22 high-powered firearms from the New People’s Army (NPA) in a three-day operation.
Three rebel returnees informed the army on the whereabouts of the arm caches owned by the NPA’s Pulang Bagani Company operating in the tri-boundary of Bukidnon, Davao Del Norte and Davao City, said Eastern Mindanao Command (EastMinCom) spokesperson Col. Ezra Balagtey.
Balagtey said the three NPA members surrendered last Friday at the Naval Station Felix Apolinario in Panacan.
Agents of the Philippine Army Intelligence and the 1003rd Infantry Brigade under Col. Nolasco Mempin immediately conducted the retrieval operations and recovered 15 M16 rifles, three M14 rifles, two Garand rifle, an M2 carbine, and one light machine gun.
On the first day of operation, an arm cache containing three high-powered firearms were found in the boundary of Davao City and Bukidnon Saturday afternoon.
The next day, seven firearms were recovered in the boundary of Davao City and Davao del Norte.
Yesterday dawn, 11 pieces of M16 rifles and one M14 rifle were also retrieved in the boundary of Davao City and Davao del Norte.
Lt. General Felimon Santos Jr., EastMinCom commander, attributed the retrieval to the continuing snowball of surrender brought about by the peace initiatives of the local government units, the Enhanced Local Integration Program, and the pressure of the communities as more and more are declaring the NPA as persona non grata.
“The peace initiatives of our Local Government Units send a goodwill message to our lost brothers that indeed the government is still the best ally,” Santos said.
“This is further being bolstered by the successful implementation of E-CLIP that allows the reformation of former rebels and their eventual integration to the mainstream society,” he added
The EastMinCom chief further called those who are still in the armed group to surrender and avail the government’s programs.