The current two months have seen a bountiful harvest of firearms, either captured or surrendered to elements of the Joint Task Force Bicolandia.
Last month, a group of twenty CTG members surrendered in Sorsogon bringing with them twenty high powered firearms. At the start of February, the Army’s successful military engagement resulted in the killing of four CTG members, arrest of one communist NPA terrorist and capture of ten high powered firearms in Garchitorena, Camarines Sur.
The past week even saw increasing traction.
First, a joint operations of the 2nd Infantry Battalion (2IB) and the local PNP received a tip-off from the residents of Barangay Sta. Maria, Mobo, Masbate prompting the troops to conduct a security operation encountering at least 15 communist NPA terrorists.
The gunfight lasted for 15 minutes before the enemies withdrew. Four M16 rifles were captured from the encounter site.
Lt. Col. Siegfried Felipe Awichen, Battalion Commander of 2IB expressed his gratitude to the residents who reported about the presence of the CNTs leading to this successful operation yet again.
Second, in Sorsogon, the 22nd Infantry Battalion (22IB) also received an information about the presence of an NPA hideout in Barangay Calpi in Bulan town. The troops immediately verified the information and captured one M16 rifle inside a nipa hut. Aside from the said high powered firearm, two bandoliers and other supplies were also seized.
Lt. Col. Nelson Mico, Battalion Commander of 22IB directed his troops to continue scouring the area to preempt any unlawful activities the CTG is planning to carry out.
Third, six regular members of the communist terrorist group joined the growing number of surrenderees in Bicol surrendering three caliber .45 semi- automatic pistols, one M653 assault rifle and one caliber .38 revolver pistol to the 83rd Infantry Battalion (83IB) based in Mabalod-balod, Tigaon, Camarines Sur.
“Matagal ko ng gustong mag-surrender kaso tinatakot nila kami na i-sasalvage daw kami ng mga sundalo kapag mag surrender kami. Ako ang buhay na patotoo na kabaliktaran iyon sa mga sinasabi ng kasama,” one of the surrenderees said.
This new batch of former rebels (FRs) will immediately undergo the process of reintegration to the mainstream society and will enroll to the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) right away.
Under the E-CLIP, they will receive firearm remuneration, cash, livelihood, medical, educational, and housing assistance.
“Paliit na ng paliit ang mundong ginagalawan ng mga komunistang teroristang ito dahil maliban sa mas pinaigting nating operasyon, nakakatanggap din tayo ng suporta mula sa mga Bicolano kung kaya mas napapadali ang paghahanap natin sa CTG,” observed Maj. Gen. Henry Robinson Jr PA, commander of Joint Task Force Bicolandia (JTFB) attributing this good turnout to the effective implementation of President Rodrigo Duterte’s Executive Order No. 70 (EO70) where the military and all other government agencies work in unison to bring the basic goods and services to the people.
“CTG members and supporters yielding to the government is now the trend and we expect the number of surrenderees to rise in the coming days. With the government’s numerous programs for the people, communist insurgency is already negated in the communities. Moreover, our intensified efforts to encourage our lost brothers who got deceived by the false ideology of this terrorist group to return to the folds of the law is gaining momentum, added Robinson.