Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Monday lauded the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) for two successful operations in Bukidnon and Maguindanao that resulted in the deaths of ranking leaders of New People’s Army (NPA) and Dawlah Islamiya (DI).
“The neutralization of Jorge ‘Ka Oris’ Madlos and Salahuddin Hassan through the sustained internal security operations of our troops is a big blow to these local terrorist groups, and a manifestation of the AFP’s commitment to secure the people against the threat of these lawless elements, especially in Mindanao,” Lorenzana said in a statement.
With the dwindling force of the NPA and other terrorist groups due to focused military operations, Lorenzana urged all Filipinos to continue supporting ongoing peace and development efforts.
“As the NPA and other local terrorist groups become weaker due to the efforts not just of the security sector but of the whole nation, we call on the public to continue supporting our bid for peace and progress in our country,” he added.
Lorenzana also thanked troops from the 4th and 6th Infantry Divisions and the Philippine National Police for their efforts.
“These victories only proved the enhanced capabilities of the AFP and heightened support of our Filipino countrymen in the fight against terrorism,” Lorenzana said in Filipino.
Madlos was killed along with an NPA medic, Eighfel Dela Pena (alias Pika/Maui), in Sitio Gabunan, Barangay Dumalaguing, Impasugong town in an encounter with combined troops from the 8th and 88th Infantry Battalions and 1st Special Forces Battalion.
Reports said there were anti-personnel mines in the area, prompting soldiers to call for air support. Government troops then engaged around 30 communist terrorists in the firefight.
Meanwhile, DI terror group leader Salahuddin Hassan and his wife were killed in remote Barangay Damablac, Talayan town by troops of the 6th Infantry Division last October 29.
Hassan who has aliases of “Orak,” “Salah,” “Tulea,” and “Abu Salman” was the emir of the DI terror group operating in south-central Mindanao. He had a P1.3-million bounty on his head.The Anti-Terrorism Council has named Hassan as among the top terrorists operating in Mindanao.