By Ado Paglinawan
Last May 6, the 2nd Infantry Battalion received a tip-off from concerned citizens that a certain Atibagos who is an active member of Larangan 2, Komiteng Probinsya 4 of Bicol Regional Party Committee (BRPC) is allegedly in possession of firearms and explosives.
The troops immediately proceeded to the address but Atibagos managed to escape.
Quick search of the vicinity of his residence, however, resulted in a harvest far better than an encounter.
The captured bounty consisted of a caliber .357 pistol, anti-personnel mine, laptop, two printers, projector, welding machine, amplifier, solar panel, two camouflage uniforms of Philippine Army and Philippine Air Force, signal booster, and most auspiciously banners and propaganda paraphernalia of Makabayan Bloc which include Bayan Muna, Gabriela, ACT-Teachers as well as progressive groups, such as Makabayan, Condor-Piston, Bayan and Karapatan.
Upon verification, it was revealed that the captured anti-personnel mine from the Atibagos’ residence matched with the anti-personnel mine which was recently detonated in Uson, Masbate province, that killed two civilians and injured five others.
The communist terrorists, greatly demoralized and disorganized, now avoid direct encounters with law enforcers, and resort to targeted bombings of government vehicles using anti-personnel and land mines alongside provincial roads.
Meanwhile, Col. Aldwine Almase, Brigade Commander of 903rd Infantry Brigade thanked the constituents of Barangay San Isidro for the information about Atibagos, highlighting that if the said firearms and explosive were not seized, they would definitely be used against the government troops and innocent civilians.
“Napakalaki ng papel na ginagampanan ng mga Masbateño sa sunod-sunod nating tagumpay sa Masbate. This should serve as warning to the CTG that they should leave the province because the residents despise them so much,” Col. Almase said.
Moreover, with the capture of the banners of Makabayan Bloc and various progressive groups from the house of a CTG member, Major General Henry Robinson, commander of Joint Task Force Bicolandia, said that it has unmasked the real face of the said organizations.
“The Makabayan Bloc and these progressive groups have been accusing us of red-tagging. Pero ang katotohanan, hindi natin kailangang gawin ‘yan. Sabi nga sa kasabihan, ‘kahit anong tago, sisingaw at sisingaw pa rin ang baho.’ How are they going to explain this?
“Will they continue to deny their affiliation with the CTG and their involvement in the 5-decade insurgency in our country which has claimed precious lives? Sa muli, nananawagan tayo sa mga Bicolano, patuloy tayong magkaisa at sabay-sabay nating tapusin ang armadong tunggaliang ito,” Robinson said.
Aside from the growing support of the Bicolanos and the intensified implementation of the Whole-of-Nation Approach, JTF Bicolandia also attributed these significant accomplishments to the effective and successful joint operations of the Army and the Police Regional Office 5 (PRO 5) of the Philippine National Police under the leadership of P/General Jonnel Estomo.
The continuous rise in the number of surrenderers and neutralization of communist terrorists during armed encounters and apprehensions as well as the discovery of arms cache and war materiel are the fruits of consistent improvement of the police and soldiers’ interoperability.
“We, in the JTF Bicolandia will continue to work hand in hand with our counterpart from the PNP to sustain our gains here in Bicol and create great impact in our campaign against communist insurgency. To the Bicolanos, rest assured that your Army and police will not waver in our thrust to serve and protect you,” Maj Gen. Robinson added.
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