A former New People’s Army (NPA) rebel who recently surrendered to 53rd Infantry “Matapat” Battalion led the troops to a Communist NPA Terrorist (CNT) arms cache in Barangay Pange, Siayan, Zamboanga del Norte, on Tuesday morning, July 21, 2020.
The troops, who were conducting follow-up operations, discovered one M653 baby armalite, one M16 and one AK47 assault rifles buried in Sitio Sapa Bagol of the same barangay.
The follow-up operations were based on the information revealed by the newly surrendered personality of Main Regional Guerilla Unit (MRGU), Western Regional Party Committee (WMRPC), whose identity cannot yet be disclosed to the public for security reasons.
In a statement, 53rd IB Commanding Officer, Lt. Col. Jo-ar Herrera said the success of the follow-up operations is proof that the integrity of the NPA armed group is crumbling at its core.
“If it’s not the community, it’s the Former Rebels (FRs) who disclose the locations of their firearms. This is proof that the FRs are tired of NPA atrocities and also want this insurgency to end,” said Lt. Col. Herrera.
On the same day, each of the 22 Former Rebels from Zamboanga Del Norte received PhP20,000.00 financial assistance during the Provincial Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) Committee meeting.
Col. Leonel Nicolas, 102nd Infantry Brigade Commander urged the remaining CNT members to abandon the armed struggle.
“Many among your ranks are already seeing the light after being imprisoned in the dark for many years through deception and lies by the Communist Terrorist Groups,” Col. Nicolas said.
“Lay down your arms and allow us to help so you could return to your families,” Col. Nicolas added.
Maj. Gen. Generoso “Gene” Ponio, 1st Infantry “Tabak” Division Commander commended the 53IB troops for this accomplishment.
“Our troops on the ground have been continuously delivering significant accomplishments in degrading the armed capability of the CNTs in our area of responsibility through series of encounters or by facilitating the surrender of former armed CNTs,” Maj. Gen. Ponio said.
As of this posting, the FR who revealed the NPA arms cache is being processed for enrollment to E-CLIP which includes the firearm remuneration.