BACOLOD CITY – Troops of the Philippine Army’s 62nd Infantry Battalion (62IB) have recovered a cache of firearms and apprehended a suspected member of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) in Moises Padilla, Negros Occidental.
The operation, which was reported by the 3rd Infantry Division (3ID) over the weekend, was conducted Thursday while the soldiers were responding to information about armed communist-terrorists extorting from residents of Sitio Bungao in Barangay Macagahay.
They arrested Joselito Ebarle, who is believed to have links with the CPP-NPA. Maj. Cenon Pancito III, public affairs chief of 3ID, told the Philippine News Agency on Sunday that Ebarle has already been turned over to the police custody and the investigation on his alleged involvement with the communist-terrorist group is ongoing.
“We strongly believe that he is affiliated with the NPA. The NPA will never trust anyone not among their own. We will definitely unmask him despite their deceptive tactics,” he added.
According to the report, the troops saw Ebarle drop his .38-caliber revolver and run away, prompting them to pursue and apprehend him.
When they searched the area where they got hold of the suspect, they found two M16 rifles, eight .38-caliber revolvers, two homemade shotguns, and a magazine of M14 with 10 rounds of live ammunition.
In Ebarle’s house, the troops recovered a backpack containing subversive documents, as well as a CPP-NPA flag.
Maj. Gen. Eric Vinoya, commander of the 3ID, said in a statement the seized firearms indicate an excess supply of war materiel of the communist-terrorist whose numbers in Negros are already dwindling.
“The troops did not only inflict damage on the arms capability of the communist-terrorists, they also prevented them from using the firearms in sowing terroristic activities,” he said.
Vinoya also thanked the locals for their support to the government troops by providing them accurate and timely information.
“With the people backing us, we are optimistic that we can totally weaken not only the arms capability of the communist-terrorists, but also their will to fight,” he added.
The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines. (PNA)