Mawab, Davao de Oro – The 71st Infantry KAIBIGAN Battalion (71IB) encounters members of the Weakened Guerilla Front 2 (WGF 2) of the New People’s Army (NPA) in Mabini, Davao de Oro, earlier this morning. Two high powered firearms, an improvised explosive device, and other war materiel are recovered.

Following the complaints of the residents that members of the NPA were harassing their community, the 71IB launched strike operations to the perpetrators. A tip from reliable informant revealed the whereabouts of the suspects. This morning, troops of KAIBIGAN Battalion tried to intercept but were fired upon by the criminals who were taking a hault in the vicinity of Sitio Magnonook, Brgy Pangibiran, Mabini, Davao de Oro. This led to an armed encounter which transpired at about 7:00 o’clock this morning with more or less 5 members of the WGF 2 of the Southern Regional Command 2 (SRC2) of the NPA. After five minutes of firefight, KAIBIGAN troopers scoured the area and recovered 1 improvised explosive device and 2 high powered firearms (1 M16 and 1 AK47 rifles), 10 magazines, 206 live ammos, 7 blasting cap, 100 meter electrical wire, 4 backpacks with personal belongings and subversive documents. Bloodstains were also found along the enemy’s withdrawal route towards southwest.

LTC SONNY E GONZALES, Commanding Officer of 71IB, is determined to destroy WGF 2 that operates in 71IB’s area of operation. “We will not allow NPA to perpetrate horrible acts anymore, or as freely as they like. Nevertheless, let us to strive even harder, think even smarter and move even swifter so that we can really end local armed conflict in our area of operation.”, he emphasized to his subordinates during his briefing prior to the said combat operation. The 71IB covers the municipalities of Mawab, Maco, Mabini and Pantukan all of Davao de Oro and Tagum City of Davao del Norte.

It can be recalled that last April 7, the unit neutralized 2 high ranking NPA members who reportedly terrorized locals in Sitio Ibuan, Brgy Tagdangua, Pantukan. Several high powered firearms and other valuable war materiel were seized. It also facilitated the surrender of 4 regular members of NPA which significantly reduced the manpower of WGF2. Just last week, 71IB helped the NAGMAPPA or “Nagkahiusang Mag-uuma sa Pindasan og Pangibiran” in Mabini to disaffiliate themselves from the “Kilusang Mambubukid ng Pilipinas” or KMP, a legal front organization of CPP-NPA-NDF that organized the former, gave them false promises and taught them to go against the government.

All these feats are the result of the cooperation and synergy in practice by the Local Government Units (LGU) and other peace stakeholders. The LGU actively work-in-hand with the 71IB in attaining sustainable peace in the community. In fact, the LGU Mabini gives incentives to citizens who can give real-time information of the NPA that led to their neutralization or capture.

Meantime, Hon. Reynaldo Dayanghirang, municipal Mayor of Mabini, extended his support and lauded the 71st IB on its recent encounter which caused significant reduction of enemy’s firepower.
“Congratulations to the officers and men of 71IB for having made another great accomplishment. Be assured, I, as the municipal mayor of Mabini will continue to give my support to the men and women in uniform of the AFP to fight aginst insurgency and lawless elements in our community.”

The 71IB continues to enjoin local government unit, line government agencies, civil society organization, private entities and typical locals as peace and order is not just an AFP’s concern but a shared responsibility. “Together, let us continue to hit the NPA hard and tip them off as much as we warmly accept those rebel who submit themselves and return to the folds of the law,” said LTC Gonzales.
The 71ib together with the LGU continues to welcome NpA members who lay down their arms and surrender and assists them to benefit from government’s Enhanced Local Integration Program (ECLIP) that offers them cash and livelihood assistance and even housing program.