ASUNCION, DDN – Receiving tips from local officials on the whereabouts of a notorious NPA leader in Laak town, Compostela Valley Province, the combined troops of the 60th Infantry Battalion and the 25th Infantry Battalion of the 1001st Infantry Brigade together with the Laak Municipal Police successfully neutralized Marjun Taba aka “Hiker” in a joint law enforcement operation launched early morning on Wednesday.

Per the military, certain local government officials from Tagum City and Laak have been in coordination with them and the police to bring Taba to the folds of the law for the last couple of months.The military says that Taba, however, adamantly refused and neglected negotiations for his surrender.

“We really wanted him to surrender. [And] I believe we have exhausted all means and options to get to that end because we know that there is more to gain if he surrenders as opposed to his dying like this in the field,” Lt. Col. Gilbert Ombos, Commander of the 60th Infantry Battalion, said.

Ombos further says that they have even asked for the help of ComVal Guv Jayvee Tyron Uy, Loreto (Agusan Sur) Mayor Lorife Otaza, and Taba’s family to facilitate the latter’s surrender, but to no avail.

Notwithstanding, the local government and his family’s pleas, Taba and his NPA cohorts continued to terrorize communities in the boundaries of Compostela Valley, Agusan del Sur, and Davao del Norte.

Following several leads and eventually pinpointing his location, the joint law enforcement operation to capture Taba was launched early Wednesday morning in Brgy. Kapatagan, Laak leading to a five-minute firefight with at least five armed men and the eventual killing of Taba. The police says the four (4) others were able to run away, although blood stains were discovered in their escape route.

Recovered from the encounter site is Taba’s cadaver along side his cal .45 pistol and two (2) anti-personnel improvised explosive devices (IEDs).

Taba, or more known by his alias “Hiker”, is first Deputy Secretary of the CPP-NPA’s Sub-regional Committee 4, Southern Mindanao Regional Committee (SMRC) while also sitting as plenary member of the SMRC. He has six (6) standing warrants of arrest for the crimes of murder, attempted murder, rebellion, serious illegal detention, double murder, and double frustrated murder.

In a statement, Colonel John Oberio, 1001st Infantry Brigade commander, reiterated the government’s call for leaders and members of the CPP-NPA to surrender “sooner rather than later.”

“Everyone knows of the President’s marching orders to end the local communist armed conflict as soon and as quickly as possible. This is why the government has stepped up on its campaign to bring the CPP-NPA to its knees. On our end, we would like to reassure everybody that we are doing all that we can to draw this insurgency’s end to a peaceful, bloodless closure. But we cannot promise such peace to those who insist to terrorize our people. Thus, again, we would like to appeal to those still taking part in the CPP-NPA’s terrorism to surrender now and avert suffering such an undignified end,” Colonel Oberio added.

Meanwhile, the Department of the Interior and Local Government XI has just concluded its 3-day “Regional Campaign on Strengthening Reintegration Efforts for Former Rebels and their Immediate Family Members through Convergence and Unified Efforts” held at Grand Regal Hotel, Davao City on November 25 to 27, 2019. The activity was attended by various national government agencies, local government representatives, AFP and PNP counterparts, and selected civil-society partners.