BACANSI, Butuan City – “Since January 01 this year, three hundred seventy seven (375) NPA members and supporters surrendered in Caraga region as a result of the intensified campaign of the Philippine Army against the CPP-NPA Terrorists (CNTs)”, says Col Maurito L Licudine, Commander of the 402nd Brigade in Caraga.
Army Troops in Caraga particularly the 402nd Infantry Brigade of 4th Infantry Division gained major accomplishments in maintaining peace and pursuing development for the Caraganons. The snowball of surrenders and the decisive encounters favoring the government complemented with the declaration of persona non grata from the communities manifest the waning support and influence of the local communist insurgency in the region.
It can be recalled that on March 22, 2019, a total of sixty-six (66) CNTs composed of twenty- nine (29) NPA leaders and regular members, thirteen (13) Milisyang Bayan (MBs) and twenty–four (24) Supporters/Couriers from Sitio Ibuan, Lanuza, Surigao del Sur voluntarily surrendered to the elements of 36 th Infantry Battalion through the effort of the Brgy Local Government Unit (BLGU) of Brgy Mampi, Lanuza, Surigao del Sur.
Likewise, two (2) CNT leaders yielded to the government troops namely alias Peter of Brgy Anilong, Rosario, Agusan del Sur who is a former Vice Commanding Officer (VCO) of Platoon 3, GF14 of the North Eastern Mindanao Regional Committee (NEMRC) last April 6, 2019 and alias Ryan of Purok Balitos of Brgy Lidia, La Paz, Agusan del Sur, Vice Squad Leader of Squad 3, SRC3 of the Northern Central Mindanao Regional Committee (NCMRC).
In Brgy Anticala, Butuan City, the losing appeal of the CNTs among the masses resulted to the surrender of one hundred thirteen (113) identified members of Milisyang Bayan (MBs) and CPP/NPA supporters/contacts/couriers of SPP21, GF21 last April 7, 2019. Said surrenderors took an Oath of Allegiance to the government as a renewal of commitment and support.
Meanwhile, recent developments of dismayed CNTs also lead to the surrender of two (2) ranking members identified as alias ROY (Vice Team Leader), 44 years old and alias RENJAY (Member), 26 years old belonging to Guerilla Front 34, South Mindanao Regional Committee (SMRC), to the troops of 23rd Infantry (Masigasig) Battalion last April 26, 2019.
In his statement, Col Licudine underscored the relentless efforts of his soldiers to protect the communities thru focused military operations that resulted to a total of twenty (23) skirmishes with the armed group. Noteworthy to mention is that the troops were able to inflict major blow against the CNTs that resulted to the killing of eight (8) and apprehension of two (2) NPA members including the capture of nineteen (19) firearms, recovery of fourteen (14) anti- personnel mines (APM) and overrun of seventeen (17) CNT lairs, “The CNTs in Caraga are now weakened since the masses who are their lifeblood have withdrawn support. They are giving us reports on the presence of CNTs in their communities contributing to the success of our security operations”, Col Licudine said.
“While we encouraged peaceful resolution of this conflict thru the community support program and institutionalized the Peace and Development Zones (PDZs) here in Caraga as a banner program of the government to end local communist armed conflict under the Whole
of Nation Approach as contained in the EO70, we shall continue our focused military operations against the CNTs and will even intensify to track and hit them hard. It will be no let up and relentless so that the remaining options for the CNTs are either to surrender or get killed.” Col Licudine added.