Five communist NPA terrorists (CNTs), four of them women, were captured by authorities Saturday, September 25. Prior to this, residents of Barangay Piña, San Jacinto blew the whistle on them taking shelter in a house in Sitio Bacquiad.
They were identified as Michael Funelas AKA Argie, Myra Letada AKA Myra, Maricris Letada AKA Sarah, Sheryl Salazar AKA Sheryl, and Vicky Ontog AKA Vicky, all members of Platoon 2, Larangan 1, Komiteng Probinsya 4.
Elements from 2nd Infantry Battalion (2IB), PNP and Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) immediately conducted security operations, captured the terrorists. A hundred meters away from the said house, troops also seized an improvised shotgun, five molotov bombs, bandolier with eight magazines, ammunitions for M16, three commercial radios, batteries, chargers, remote control for anti-personnel mine, one roll of detonating cord, cellphone, hammock and other personal belongings.
Lt. Col. Siegfried Felipe Awichen thanked the residents for once again providing the government troops with timely information that led to this success.
Col. Aldwine Almase, Brigade Commander of 903rd Infantry Brigade, said that capturing the said CTG personalities further drags the CTG’s already waning manpower and firepower downhill. “Yong mga miyembro nila, daan-daan na ang sumuko at sa tuloy-tuloy nating operasyon, kung hindi napapaslang sa engkwentro, nahuhuli naman ang natitirang miyembro ng CTG dito sa Masbate at ‘yan po ay dahil sa suportang ibinibigay sa atin ng mga Masbateño,” Almase added.
Meanwhile, the PNP is now in close coordination with the Army to investigate the captured CTG personalities and file their cases as soon as possible.
“Aalamin natin kung may iba pang kinasangkutang krimen itong mga nahuli at masusi natin itong iimbestigahan. Sa mga kaanak ng iba pang miyembro ng CTG, huwag ninyong hayaang mangyari ito sa kanila. Habang maaga pa, kumbinsihin na ninyo silang sumuko,” said PBGen Jonnel Estomo, regional director of Police Regional Office-5 (PRO-5).
Last September 18, a CTG member was also nabbed in an armed encounter in San Pascual.
A bulk of war materiel were captured by the government troops last September 20 in Aroroy town after residents reported about the suspicious materials left behind by CNTs in their area to which the elements of 2nd Infantry Battalion (2IB) and PNP immediately verified.
The troops were able to capture an M16 rifle, two magazines, assorted ammunitions, one plastic bag containing ammonium nitrate (the primary component in making anti-personnel mine), dynamite, one roll of detonating cord, and personal belongings.
The Joint Task Force (JTF) Bicolandia under MGen Henry Robinson Jr. PA, reiterated its warning to the CTG about the troops’ continuous extensive operations against them. “Kahit magtago kayo sa kabundukan, mahuhuli pa rin namin kayo dahil mismong ang mga Masbateño na ang nagsisilbi naming mata. Wala na rin kayong mass base kaya tanggapin na lang ninyo ang iniaalok sa inyo ng pamahalaang mas maayos na pamumuhay dahil wala namang patutunguhan ang pananatili ninyo sa loob ng CTG.”
JTF Bicolandia encouraged the remaining CTG members to heed the call of the government and follow the footsteps of the snowballing surrenderers in Bicol. Robinson reminded the terror stragglers, “Napakaganda ng programa ng gobyerno at hindi lamang ito para sa inyo kundi para sa inyong mga pamilya.”
Recently, a total of 246 CTG members and supporters yielded to the different Community Support Program (CSP) Teams in Masbate bringing the total number of surrenderers this year alone to 1,065. (SPH/Ado Paglinawan)