CAMP EVANGELISTA, Cagayan de Oro City — The 401st Infantry “Unite n Fight” Brigade under the 4th Infantry “Diamond” Division, Philippine Army foiled an impending attack by the North Eastern Mindanao Regional Committee (NEMRC) forces in a series of clashes at the mountainous and uninhabited areas of Andap Valley complex in Surigao del Sur starting on the dawn of May 14-19, 2020.

Threatened and exploited tribal communities in Andap Valley Complex – a known CNT hideout in the province of Surigao del Sur, tipped off to the security forces of a large consolidation of top ranking NPA leaders and combatants of NEMRC posturing for an attack to unwary government troops leading to a series of clashes. Accordingly, they (CTGs) are planning to disrupt government efforts in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic. They are to take advantage of the outbreak as security forces focuses on mitigating the effects of the deadly virus.

The security operation resulted in 11 CNTs killed, the capture of 5 firearms, 2 laptops, 1 overhead projector, flash drives, external hard drives, 2 anti-personnel mines, hand grenades, bandoleers, assorted ammunition and magazines, handheld radios, personal belongings, assorted food and medical supplies, and subversive documents with high tactical value. The operating troops overrun the CNT’s hideout that could accommodate more or less 120 individuals.

Moreover, said military operations recorded 5 encounters with the NEMRC forces in isolated areas in the long stretch of Andap Valley complex in Surigao del Sur. Notably, the two (2) laptop computers and one (1) projector recovered in the encounter site were believed to be owned and used by Myrna Sularte aka “Malaya”, the Secretary of NEMRC, and that of Alvin Loque aka “Joaquin Jacinto”, the spokesperson of
Komisyun Mindanao (KOMMID). Also, it is highly probable that the personal and security staff of aka Malaya were present during the encounter, namely: Alfie Masinatao Basa aka “Momoy”, the Vice CO of Regional Headquarters (RHQ), NEMRC, and Lorna Pamutongan Gomez aka “Momay”, the Medical Staff of RHQ, NEMRC. The four (4) top-ranking NPA officials are believed to be fatally wounded to include their sub cohort commanders during their withdrawal in different directions as evidenced by the heavy bloodstains found after each gun battle with the government forces.

Due to the rugged and mountainous terrain of the encounter sites aggravated by unpredictable weather, soldiers experienced difficulties in the retrieval of the CNT’s dead bodies. Troops are still searching for more CNTs slain during the clash as reports poured in of severely wounded CNTs still hiding in the area.

The 4ID Chief, Major General Franco Nemesio M Gacal, lauded the engaged troops and local communities for the successful operation in Andap Valley complex which led to the crumbling of NEMRC as their top officials and other NPA terrorists are neutralized.

“The determination and sacrifices of our troops and the bravery and confidence of the locals had paved the way for the restoration of peace. I urged the local communities to continue supporting the government efforts for maintaining peace in the province,” says Gacal.

On a similar incident, it can be recalled that last May 10, 2020, the 402nd Infantry “Stingers” Brigade under this command had launched its security operations in the boundaries of Agusan del Norte and Misamis Oriental hitting North Central Mindanao Regional Committee (NCMRC) and bringing one of its front committee (GFC4A) to its brink of collapse. Said security operations resulted in the death of 4 top ranking NPA officials and 11 others and the capture of 5 firearms and overrun of their hideout. While the 4ID is hopeful that more CNTs will surrender in the coming days, troops on the ground will continue their relentless operations against the CNTs who remain active in their violent and destructive criminal activities against the people in the communities.

“To the remaining members of the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), lay down your arms and be reunited with your family and avail of the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program or suffer the fate of your cohorts who died in vain,” Gacal added. A unified effort is needed from various levels of government to defeat the threats posed by the CTGs.

“To put an end to the longtime senseless armed revolution and win the elusive peace, our campaign needs a unified effort from various levels of government,” the 4ID Chief concluded.