BUTUAN CITY – A top Army official in Caraga Region has welcomed the deployment of the additional brigade in the area.

Brig. Gen. Maurito Licudine, commander of 402nd Infantry Brigade (402nd IBde), told Philippine News Agency Sunday that the deployment of the 901st Infantry Brigade (901st IBde) in the region is a boost in the continuing efforts to dismantle the remaining guerrilla fronts of the communist New People’s Army (NPA) in the area.

“This is a welcome development. The newly-deployed brigade is additional manpower for the Army to effectively carry out its mission in the region,” Licudine said.

The 901st IBde, headed by Brig. Gen. Gabriel Viray, arrived in Surigao City on June 12.

The brigade was previously assigned in North Cotabato and its neighboring provinces.

Licudine said the brigade will cover the whole province of Surigao del Norte, including the Siargao Island and the Province of Dinagat Islands.

Two battalions that were previously under the 402nd IBde would be absorbed by the 901st IBde to include the 30th Infantry Battalion and the 29th Infantry Battalion, he said.

“We have a timeline given by President Rodrigo R. Duterte, and that is to finish the problem of insurgency before his term ends in 2022,” he added.

In a media interview, Maj. Gen. Andres Centeno said the 901st IBde will augment the government troopers in the fight against the remaining NPA rebels in the area, particularly in Surigao del Norte.

In his message, Viray assured the residents of their new areas of responsibility (AORs) that the soldiers of 901st IBde are combat-ready as he urged the remaining NPA rebels to surrender. (PNA)