By CPT AL ANTHONY B PUEBLAS (INF) PA
CAMP EVANGELISTA, CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY: The 4th Infantry (Diamond) Division, Philippine Army’s relentless efforts in anti-insurgency campaign has resulted in the collapse of the Communist Terrorist Group (CTG) operating in the borders of Agusan del Norte (AgNor) and Misamis Oriental (MisOr) during the series of encounters launched by the government forces leaving traces of defeat of the CTGs on the dawn of May 10, at the uninhabited and hinterland areas of Barangay Kamanikan, Gingoog City.
In the four-day armed encounters that ensued, the 4ID forces displayed its total superiority in a running gun battle over Guerilla Front Committee 4A (GFC4A) of North Central Mindanao Regional Committee (NCMRC) that claimed lives of NPAs of which 10 cadavers were so far retrieved by the soldiers, recovery of five high-powered rifles; two M16; one AK47; One M14 and; One Carbine, explosives, communication gadgets, and devices, and voluminous documents with a high tactical value which includes a primer on Agrarian Revolution (AgRev) and Handbook on “How to Exploit the Lumads.”
Top ranking CTG leaders were killed during the clash and were positively identified as attested by former rebels turned peace advocates. One of them was identified as Ian Dela Rama a.k.a. “GIAN”, the Front Secretary of GFC4A, NCMRC. Others were also identified as Rio Amor Yuson a.k.a. “LEMA” the Finance Officer of NCMRC; Paquito Namatidong a.k.a. “SANGKA” the CO of SPP Sikop, GF4A, NCMRC; and Peter Mansaginda Pinakilid a.k.a. “ALOY” the Political Officer, GF4A. The death of high-ranking leaders of GFC4A and NCMRC and their members attest that the CTG is at the brink of extinction.
The heavy bloodstains found along the CTG’s direction of withdrawal also manifested that numerous rebels were believed to have been severely wounded and even died after security forces hit them successively. Further, there were information received from reliable sources stating that another five (5) CTGs died during the series of encounters and their lifeless bodies laid on the forested area.
The 4ID’s aggressive push ramped up late last week after a courageous civilian reported the presence of armed group threatening and extorting them money and food. In response, 4ID has immediately dispersed its highly trained infantrymen under 402nd Infantry “Stingers” Brigade specifically the “Masigasig” troopers of 23rd Infantry Battalion into the rebel-abused Barangay Kamanikan and immediately began the security operations against GFC4A.
MGen Franco Nemesio Gacal, Commander of 4ID said, “We have always been open and true to our commitment to helping them live a life they all deserve, yet despite our humble peace offering, they neglected our efforts towards building and attaining sustainable peace.”
“The bravery portrayed by the civilians has resulted in the successful major encounter against GFC4A in Agusan del Norte and Misamis Oriental provinces. Conflict-affected communities in the far-flung areas are now free from threats of the CTGs through cooperation with our government forces. We encourage our fellow countrymen to support our government forces in putting an end to the long-time armed struggle of our misled brothers which brought countless killing among Filipinos. My sincerest gratitude also to the local folks who reported the information,” MGen Gacal added.
The 4ID chief further elaborated that people in the countryside no longer provide a safe haven to the NPA terrorists, forcing them to be constantly on the run. “People now tip-off CNT’s presence in their localities resulting in Army’s operational advantage,” he added.
The Army Commander also lauded the 402nd Infantry Brigade especially the 23IB for their exemplary effort of securing the communities being threatened by the CTGs.
Likewise, Gacal calls for the remnants of the fleeing CTGs to submit themselves to the nearest community and lay down their arms. “To the remaining members of the New People’s Army, we know that you are tired and exhausted running away from the operating troops. Lay down your arms and you will be safe. A new beginning awaits you together with your families and loved ones in a life where there’s no room for chaos and hardship,” Gacal ended.
The ten CTG cadavers recovered were turned over to the city government of Gingoog for their identification and decent burial. Army troops are still conducting search and retrieval operations to the remaining dead NPA bodies abandoned by their retreating comrades. (4ID/PIA/RSP)