MALAYBALAY CITY, Bukidnon, Sep 23-The Army's 1st Special Forces Battalion (1SFBn)of the 403rd Infantry Brigade raided four hide-holes of the New People's Army (NPA) at different sites in Bukidnon province last September 15.
Lieutenant Colonel Vercisio San Jose, commanding officer of the 1st Special Forces Battalion, said that the troops swooped down on the arms cache after a civilian divulged the buried firearms and other NPA belongings at uninhabited and forested areas of Barangays Kaatuan and Alanib all in Lantapan municipality, including those in Barangay Lacolac of Baungon town.
The 1SFBn troops also seized some of the NPA's firearms and subversive documents in an area near Barangay Dalwangan that borders Malaybalay City and Lantapan town.
"Civilian populace in the area is fed up with their [NPA] extortion activities. They no longer support the communist agenda, thus provided us the information on the whereabouts of the arms cache. With the mass surrender of veteran NPA Terrorists, the loss of support from the masses, and the capture of their weapons and firearms, I can say that the NPA Terrorists in my AOR [area of responsibility] is in the brink of collapse," Lt. Col. San Jose said.
The weaponry recovered were two (2) AK-47 rifles; two (2) M653 rifles; one (1) M203 grenade launchers; one (1) M14 rifle; and two (2) Garand rifles. Also discovered in said areas were improvised explosive devices and medical supplies.
Colonel Ferdinand Barandon, 403rd Infantry Brigade Commander commended the 1st SF Battalion for the successful operation while recognizing the efforts of civilians who helped in searching out the NPA's hideaways.
"The recovery of the arms cache is a big blow to the communist terrorist groups (CTGs). It shows that they are no longer welcomed in the community. It also indicates that the sympathy and support of the civilians have shifted from the CTGs to the government. As always, we will be relentless in our efforts to hunt down the remaining members of the terrorist groups until they are incapable of sowing fear and panic to the people within our area of operation," Barandon said. (CMO 403rd Bde, PA/PIA Bukidnon)