CAMP CAPINPIN, Tanay, Rizal — A 15-year-old former NPA terrorist who recently surrendered to the military led soldiers to an arms cache in Antipolo City on Monday.
The information given by the female NPA minor, whom the military identified only as alias Ana, led to the recovery of three high-powered firearms.
Lt Col Rimrad Feraer, Commander of the 80th Infantry Battalion which operates in Rizal Province, said that his soldiers were able to recover one M653 rifle, one M16 rifle and one M14 rifle with magazines and plenty of ammunition.
“Our ability to reduce the NPA terrorists’ armaments, coupled with the series of surrenders, is a big step toward the much-coveted peace for it meant fewer armed terrorists coercing and threatening our beloved constituents,” added Lt Col Feraer.
Police Colonel Renato Alba, Director of Rizal Provincial Police Office, said that “such accomplishment is the result of the series of Local Peace Engagements which soldiers and police have undertaken in coordination with the LGUs and other agencies thereby contributing towards the attainment of our aspirations of ushering lasting peace in this part of our land.”
It can be recalled that alias Ana, together with a certain Alvin Molina alias Jack, surrendered to government forces on Wednesday following local peace negotiations in the area.
Both of them belong to the indigenous tribe of Dumagat and were former members of the NPA’s Platoon 4A4 under Guerilla Front Cesar.
According to Brigadier General Alex Rillera, Commander of the 202nd Brigade which has operational jurisdiction over CALABARZON, “the former rebels volunteered the information during the debriefing because they felt the government’s genuine concern and sincerity to help them reintegrate to mainstream society and start living peaceful lives with their families.”
BGen Rillera added that the “soldiers will protect them at all cost since they are now considered targets of NPA retaliatory and punitive actions after they decided to totally burn bridges with the underground movement by turning over plenty of high-powered firearms.”
BGen Rillera promoted
Incidentally, yesterday’s accomplishment coincided with the day President Duterte signed the promotion order of BGen Rillera from colonel to one-star general.
“We will further increase our operational tempo to finish them off amidst the internal squabbles and confusion prevailing within their organization as manifested by the series of surrenders and debacles that they have suffered in our area of operations,” said BGen Rillera.
BGen Rillera also expressed his gratitude to President Duterte for the trust and confidence of the Chief Executive in him.
“I would like to express gratitude to the President for his trust and confidence as embodied by this promotion which will further inspire me to accomplish my mission as vanguard of the national government’s southern frontier,” he said.
Act of good faith
MGen Arnulfo Marcelo B Burgos Jr, Commander of the Philippine Army’s 2nd Infantry Division which has operational jurisdiction over Southern Tagalog, commended the former rebels’ act of good faith calling it “the sincerest gesture that former rebels can do to substantiate their desire to turn their backs from the communist’s armed struggle.”
Burgos added that “the recent influx of surrenders of former rebels who brought along their firearms is a clear indicator that the NPA terrorists have already reached the point of irreversible collapse and that their underground movement’s inevitable demise is just a matter of time.”
He assured the people of Southern Tagalog that “although your soldiers are happy to defeat the NPAs without firing a single shot, we are more than ready to deploy every assets and all of our military might to finally end this insurgency that has been hampering our nation’s growth and potentials so that our people can finally live the peaceful and prosperous lives that every Filipino citizen truly deserves.”
MGen Burgos ended his statement by calling upon the “few remaining NPA terrorists in our area to lay down your arms and follow the path which your comrades took while you still can because additional soldiers will be deployed in the frontlines to hunt you down and put end to your terroristic acts.”
The 2ID welcomed 179 new soldiers on Monday after they officially concluded their basic training with Chancellor Fernando Sanchez Jr of the University of the Philippines Los Baños as the Guest of Honor and Speaker.
In his speech, Chancellor Sanchez told the soldiers that “you will not be going to battle empty handed, you will do right by your duty, you will rise to the occasion, because you have the trust of the Filipino people.” (PNA)