CAMP CAPINPIN, Tanay, Rizal – The Army’s 2nd Infantry Division foiled on Sunday what would have been the NPA’s third ceasefire violation in less than a week in Quezon Province.
Two suspected NPAs left behind two anti-personnel mines and four blasting caps when they evaded soldiers belonging to the 1st Infantry Battalion who were implementing Real, Quezon’s curfew policy.
Lieutenant Colonel Jesus Diocton, Commanding Officer of 1IB, said that “the incident took place at Brgy Llavac where a Quarantine Control Point in relation to COVID-19 is established.”
He added that his soldiers were in the area “to protect the people from threats of NPA terrorists and serve as frontliners in containing the spread of corona virus.”
Per the military’s records, this is the NPA’s fourth ceasefire-related violation in Region 4A, with the first incident recorded in Brgy Puray of Rodriguez, Rizal on March 28.
Colonel Alex Rillera, Commander of the 202nd Brigade which has operational jurisdiction over the area, said that his soldiers manning the QCPs has taken a proactive and vigilant stance against possible offensive actions by the terrorists following the directive issued by Major General Arnulfo Marcelo Burgos Jr, the Commander of 2ID.
He condemned “the communist terrorists’ desperate act of resorting to the use of land mines, an internationally unacceptable tool in warfare, just to inflict harm upon our soldiers and save face after a series of failed offensive posturings which resulted to multiple casualties on their side.”
Col Rillera ended his statement by saying that the few remaining NPA terrorists’ recent actions are “reflections of the growing frustration within their ranks brought about by mistrust, hardship, hunger, leadership vacuum and the reality of a fast-eroding mass base support which they do not want to accept.”
It can be recalled that the first three ceasefire violations of the NPAs ended in armed encounters against the government’s security forces after concerned civilians reported the enemies-of-the-state’s presence in the periphery of their villages.
The military earlier emphasized that soldiers are constitutionally mandated to act on reports coming from concerned citizens particularly if it involves imminent threat towards the community, even during these trying times brought about by the corona virus pandemic.
On Sunday, Maj Gen Burgos issued a directive reminding his Community Support Program Teams to remain focused in their task of providing solid community defense to safeguard the people against extortion activities and harassment. The directive also orders the soldiers to be vigilant against the NPA’s treacherous nature as well as the strict observance of health-related protocols to ensure that military camps will remain COVID-19 free.
In a statement, Maj Gen Burgos expressed his disappointment over the communist terrorists’ actions, saying that “instead of practicing solidarity with our people, they are wasting this once in a lifetime opportunity for them to be bigger than themselves, walk the talk and join the entire Filipino nation in controlling the spread of this deadly virus.”
“Today, more than ever, the government and the communist NPA terrorists are in a position to work together to fight a common enemy”, added Maj Gen Burgos while calling upon the rebels to “set aside our differences and let us work together not only for the survival of our generation but also for peace, prosperity and development which the future generation of Filipinos truly deserve.”
He ended his statement by assuring the public that “as Filipino soldiers, we will never waver in our mandate to quash any clear and present danger to our constituents over every inch of Philippine territory whenever, wherever, whoever or whatever the threat maybe be.”
Relatedly, soldiers assigned in Brgy Biga of Pola, Oriental Mindoro discovered a Grenade Cache containing six grenade rifles and one smoke grenade.
Intelligence units believe that the explosives were prepositioned by NPAs operating in the area as part of their planned offensives against government forces performing COVID-related missions.
Such assessment is being validated through their agents embedded upon the terrorists’ ranks. Troops are scouring the area to locate more war materiel which they believe are hidden in the vicinity of the village.
As of the moment, 2ID has 3,022 personnel manning 340 Quarantine Control Points across Southern Tagalog.