Seventy-seven members of the New People’s Army, including top leaders, were neutralized by the different units under the Eastern Mindanao Command as it intensified its security operations in May.
Lt Col Ezra Balagtey, the EastMinCom spokesperson, said the NPA suffered a series of defeats in less than a month as 24 rebels were killed, 11 captured, and 42 have surrendered in the past four weeks.
This also includes the capture and surrender of 83 and 13 firearms, respectively, and the discovery of guerilla hideouts in the different parts of the command’s area of responsibility.
To mention a few of EMC’s successful operations, an NPA front was earlier decimated after 10 NPAs were killed and five high-powered firearms were captured on May 10, in a series of encounters with soldiers of the 4th Infantry Division in Misamis Oriental and Agusan del Norte.
On May 12, the 1st Special Forces Battalion also captured a machine gun in Sitio Kimutya, San Rafael, Talakag, Bukidnon.
In Davao Oriental, elements of the 28th Infantry Battalion recovered two Garand rifles, one M16 rifle, one AR15 rifle, and one Ultimax MK3 machine gun in an arms cache in Barangay Maragatas, Lupon on the evening of May 16 during a pursuit operation after the unit figured in an encounter on May 13.
In a separate incident, elements of the 36th IB discovered a guerrilla hideout at the vicinity of Cabangahan, Cantilan, Surigao Del Sur, and confiscated one IHL banned landmine, two-way radio, personal belongings, and subversive NPA documents.
Likewise, operating troops of the 26th IB discovered an NPA lair in Guibonon, Esperanza, Agusan Del Sur, and were able to confiscate one tablet, four containers of gasoline, ammunition, and subversive documents.
On May 18, 2020, at 11:30 AM, other troops of 36th IB, while conducting security operations, encountered an undetermined number of rebels in Barangay Siagao, San Miguel, Surigao del Sur.
The said encounter lasted for 45 minutes, which led to the death of one NPA. It also resulted in the recovery of AK47 rifles, land mines, and medical supplies.
Lt. General Jose C. Faustino Jr., commander of the Eastern Mindanao Command, directed all units under EMC to intensify their implementation of security operations to prevent the NPAs from committing atrocities and harassment on communities already reeling from the pandemic.
“While most of us are busy fighting COVID-19, we do not want to give the NPAs space and time to take advantage of the situation to carry out their evil plans and atrocities that will add misery to our communities,” he said.