By Xai Reyes
MANILA — Five (5) high-ranking members of the New Peoples’ Army (NPA) were arrested by elements of Eastern Mindanao Command (Eastmincom) during their sustained operation in the area while five others surrendered to authorities.
Acting EastMinCom Commander BGen. Leopoldo Imbang Jr. identified the five arrested leaders of the said local terrorists as Marie Vic Diamante Sustetuido alias Celin/Bebeng, Deputy Secretary of Guerrilla Front Committee (GFC) Malayag, North Central Mindanao Regional Committee (NCMRC), Isias Bigol Geñorga alias Ising, Executive Committee (Execom) member and Secretary of the Regional Urban Committee, Gina Tutor alias Cora, Execom member and Secretary-General of Gabriela Agusan del Norte, Vilma Dalangin Yecyec alias Mader, Secretary of the Regional Organization Department, and Rogelio Balansag De Asis alias Dhudz, Regional Chairman of Pambanang Lakas ng Mmalakaya sa Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA).
Those who decided to return to the folds of the law were identified as Bartolome Abela Tausa alias Raymond, Commanding Officer of the Pulang Bagani Command, Rekem Domingo alias Renjan, Vice Commanding Officer 2 of the Front Guerrilla Unit (FGU), and Ruben Sinao Su-oy Jr. alias Jordan/Niko, the Commanding Officer of Basil Platoon, Guerrilla Front 3 and also an Execom member, Jimwel Ascares Salazar alias Zian, Commanding Officer of Sub-Regional Sentro-De-Gravidad (SRSDG) Westland, and Kurt Russel Sosa alias Ugnay.
Apart from the high-ranking NPA leaders more than 600 members and underground mass supporters had also renounced their links with the Communist New People’s Army Terrorists (CNTs) from January to February alone.
Brig. Gen. Imbang said more than 600 CNTs and their supporters were also neutralized and had dissociated from the CPP-NPA-NDF.
Out of the neutralized CNTs, 13 were killed in encounters, 16 were captured, and 77 yielded to the troops while more than 500 mass supporters also seized their support for the CNTs.
A total of 65 firearms were also recovered while 25 hideouts were discovered by the troops in the same period.
The acting Eastmincom Commander attributed these accomplishments to the increasing participation of the Local Government Units and the local populace in countering insurgency.
“Local officials are now more receptive to the needs of their communities, leading the latter to become more participative to government-led initiatives in tackling the armed struggle,” BGen. Imbang said.
He also stressed that this development has a positive impact on the military’s counterinsurgency measures.
BGen. Imbang also expressed his gratitude to the different government agencies and stakeholders who never fail to support EastMinCom’s initiatives and programs for peace, security, and development.
“With the sustainment of the collaborations among different government agencies, we are expecting to see a rising number of CNTs surrendering to the government in the coming months,” BGen Imbang said.
He added that CNTs who choose to surrender to the authorities are also given the assurance of a good life through the Enhanced Local Comprehensive Integration Program (ECLIP) of the government where they can receive remuneration and livelihood assistance.
He said Easmincom is also enhancing its information campaign to ensure that CNTs who are lurking even in the most secluded area can hear of the benefits available for them once they decide to live a normal life under the rule of law. (AI/MTVN)