Proving their strong distaste of the Communist terrorism, residents of Barangay Napolidan, Lupi, Camarines Sur reported to the authorities the firearms left by communist NPA terrorists in their mass base.
Last May 28, elements of the 9th Infantry Battalion (9IB) increased the radius of their pursuit operations.
As they responded to the reports of whistleblowing ordinary citizens, they were able to seize war materiel owned by the CTG comprised of an M16 rifle, two caliber .22 rifles, magazines, molotov bomb, bandoliers, backpack, assorted ammunition, cellphones, batteries, camouflage uniform of Philippine Army, medical paraphernalia and terroristic propaganda materials.
Lt. Col. Emerson Sumilang, Battalion Commander of 9IB, said this gesture is a manifestation of the support of the local populace to eradicate communist insurgency in their communities. Col. Jaime Abawag, Brigade Commander of 902nd Infantry Brigade, pointed out that the seizure of the said war materiel prevented the CTG from using it to threaten communities and spread violence.
“Babala na ito sa CTG na wala ng ligtas na lugar para sa kanila at sa kanilang mga armas dahil maliban sa ating mas pinaigting na mga operasyon, nagsisilbi na rin nating mata ang mga residenteng sawa na sa kanilang mga karahasan,” Col. Abawag said.
(There is no more safe haven for them and their arms cache because Army pursuit operations have been intensified and the local residents have now become eyes of the government against their violent abuses.)
Major General Henry Robinson, commander of the Joint Task Force (JTF) Bicolandia interpreted the terrorists’ leaving their firearms in their mass base is an indication that they no longer have enough members to carry them.
“Malamang, marami sa kanilang mga miyembro ang nasugatan sa nakaraang bakbakan kaya iniwan na lang nila ‘yong kanilang mga armas. Hindi nga imposibleng pati mga kasamahan nila iniwan din nila kung saan-saan lang gaya ng ginagawa nila tuwing may namamatay at nasusugatan silang kabaro,” Robinson said.
(Many of them have sustained injuries from past encounters. It has also become a commonplace that they just abandon their dead comrades.)
It can be recalled that last May 26, one communist NPA terrorist was killed and his high-powered firearm was captured after they encountered government troops in the same town broke out.
Robinson said it is never too late for them to give their lost cause by surrendering and starting a new life with President Rodrigo Duterte’s Balik-Loob Program of reintegrating former rebels back into productive lives in normative communities, just as what the 111 surrenderers in the entire Bicol region have already done. (SPH/Ado Paglinawan)