Since January this year, the army recorded a total of 52 clashes, resulting in the death of 15 rebels and the arrest of nine others.Capt. Regie Go, the spokesperson of 4th Infantry Division, said that in the first three months, they also received 495 surrenderees from the regular NPA guerrillas and members of the Militia ng Bayan, Sangay sa Partido sa Lokalidad, and underground mass organizations.
They also recovered 111 firearms and 34 anti-personnel mines, and dismantled 41 NPA hideouts.
He said the members of the New People’s Army have nowhere to hide as more and more local government units have proclaimed them persona non grata.
The barangay and municipal councils, as well as the provincial boards of Surigao del Sur, in the municipality of Sibagat and Brgy San Pedro; San Luis in Agusan del Sur; Barangay Camam-onan, Gigaquit, Surigao Del Norte; and nine barangays in the province of Bukidnon have passed resolutions in this regard.
A case was filed by the 403rd Infantry Brigade, headed by its commander, Col. Edgardo De Leon, against the NPA for violating the International Humanitarian Law (IHL) in the first quarter of 2019.
“They violated the IHL and harmed civilians in Bukidnon province. They burned a banana harvesting machine, backhoes, and a boom spraying machine owned by the different private companies in the area. They also brutally killed two soldiers in Barangay Dalwangan, Malaybalay City on Valentine’s Day. They must pay for the crimes they have committed,” De Leon said.
On the other hand, Caraga and Northern Mindanao vowed to adopt and implement Executive Order 70, known as Peace and Development Zones. The Regional Peace and Order Council and the Regional Development Council have pledged to effectively address the root causes of insurgency, as part of the government’s “whole of nation approach.”
Maj. Gen. Franco Nemesio M. Gacal, commander of the 4th ID, said, “I am very happy that the LGUs (local government units), LGAs (local government agencies) and other sectors in Northern Mindanao and Caraga regions are standing up and are now ready to fight with us in our “peaceful war” efforts.
“I hope more barangays, municipalities, cities, and provinces will join us so that we will be able to achieve the long-lasting peace we have longed for,” he said.
“I am expecting more surrenders to come as we continue with our localized peace efforts and I am seeing how the CPP-NPA terrorists continue to disintegrate in our area because of the concerted efforts of government forces, LGUs, LGAs and other stakeholders,” he added.x