ISULAN, Sultan Kudarat - Military forces rendered another big blow to the weakening strength of communist New People's Army (NPA) rebels in this province with the discovery of their hidden 34 high-powered firearms and explosives in the mountains of Esperanza town.
Lt. Col. Romel Valencia, 7th Infantry Battalion (7IB) commander, on Sunday said the discovery of the arms cache buried in a shallow grave in a forested area of Barangay Marquez, Esperanza, came after a tip-off from civilians.
"Civilians are tired of atrocities by lawless elements so they are now helping government forces," Valencia said in a statement following the discovery of the firearms Saturday in the southern periphery of the village.
He said after receiving the information, Valencia sent 1st Lt. Sonny Telino, commander of 7th IB Alpha company, to the site for verification and confirmation.
He said the firearms belonged to the NPA Far South Regional Committee Base operating in the foothills of the Daguma range.
"This is a huge blow on the communist movement and I appreciate the efforts of civilian communities and local leaders for their right decision to help us," Valencia said.
"I assure you of your Army's full support to all peace initiatives of the government in this part of Mindanao," he added.
The firearms are now at the 7IB headquarters in Barangay Kalawag 2 of this town.
The Communist Party of the Philippines-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines.
The National Democratic Front, meanwhile, has been formally designated as a terrorist organization by the Anti-Terrorism Council on June 23, 2021, citing it as "an integral and separate part" of the CPP-NPA created in April 1973. (PNA)