BAYUGAN CITY, Agusan del Sur – Operating troops of 3rd Special Forces (Arrowhead) Battalion (3SFBn) recovered three high-powered firearms after a former Milisya ng Bayan (MB) member revealed a NPA arms cache in the hinterland of Sitio Hugmakan, Barangay San Juan in this city, this morning, August 21.

Three Caliber 30 Garand rifles were retrieved by the 3SFBn during a security operation in the area after a former MB member of Guerilla Front 21A revealed the location of their arms cache.

According to @Sion, the recovered firearms were buried on February 2019, two days after the terrorist NPAs released their 14 hostages – the two Army Enlisted Personnel and 12 CAFGU Active Auxiliaries (CAAs). With only few members remaining, Roderick Bensing Maco aka @Zion, NPA leader, ordered him to hide the said firearms. “Gipatago na lang ni Kumander kay wala naman sila kauban nga maggunit aning armas kay gamay naman nabilin, halos tanan nagsurender na man. Gagmay na pud mga bala ato mao tong gipalubong na lang niya para safety,” he said.
@Sion decided to withdraw his support to the NPA terrorists and finally surrendered to 3SFBn on August 13, 2019 after experiencing the continuous exploitation and abuses committed by NPA terrorists to his fellow Manobo tribe members in their sitio. “Di naman mi kaadto sa among uma kay sige na man ming suguon pagpalit ug pag-alsa sa ilang gamit kung magkita mi. Mahadlok pud mi sa among kaugalingon kay basin initan mi sa sundalo ug madamay mi sa engkwentro,” he explained.

Lieutenant Colonel Joey Baybayan, Commanding Officer of the 3SFBn underscored that the number of NPAs in Bayugan City has significantly decreased due to series of surrender and casualties they have incurred during the previous encounters with the government troops. “With few remaining members, these terrorist NPAs are constantly moving to evade our operating troops that is why they chose to hide their firearms so that they could easily blend with the community when cornered,” he said.

According to Colonel Allan Hambala, 401st Infantry Brigade Commander, “With the active implementation of Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) of the government, it is not too late for the remaining NPA members to surrender. This is the best time to avail such opportunity for safety and holistic mainstreaming back to their communities.”

“With the implementation of EO 70, I am calling my fellow Agusanons to join us in ending the local communist armed conflict in Caraga. It is all our responsibility,” Col Hambala added.