Army commander in Bicol urges rebels to surrender
By Paulo DS. Papa
MGen. Alex Luna, commander of the 9th Infantry Division, Philippine Army, urged members of the New People’s Army (NPA) to surrender to the government as residents of communities where they operate are already denouncing them and reporting their presence to the government security forces.
To recall, armed encounters were reported in Masbate recently, while two high-powered firearms and ammunition were recovered in Sorsogon after residents in far flung and so called “rebel infested” communities in the town of Bulan informed government forces nearby about the presence and activities of NPA rebels in their barangays.
In a statement, Luna said that these rebels, if they continue their armed struggle, may face the people as their enemies aside from the government. He added that communities are enlightened already about the armed movement. The government and the people wish nothing but peace.
“Walang ibang ninanais ang ating mga kababayan lalo na ang ating pamahalaan kundi ang kapayapaan ng ating bansa. Kaya kung kayo ay magpupumilit na manatili sa kilusan, hindi lamang ang gobyerno ang inyong makakalaban, kundi ang mismong taong bayan.Huwag ninyo na silang linlangin, mulat na sila sa katotohanan, mas dinaragdagan ‘nyo lamang ang pagkamuhi ng mga tao sainyo. Sumuko na lamang kayo” Luna said.
On April 20, a combat and security operation conducted by police and army troopers resulted to a 15 minute gunfight with more or less than 10 communist insurgents in Sitio Malapinggan, Barangay Sawmill in Mobo town, Masbate. The operation was conducted after a concerned citizen reported the presence of armed men in the area.
After the encounter, government forces recovered an M653 rifle, two M16 rifles, grenade, ammunition, communication devices and propaganda materials. No casualties from both sides were reported.
A day after, army troopers from the 22nd Infantry Battalion dug a container drum containing two M16 rifles and ammunition in Barangay Calpi, Bulan town in Sorsogon. Prior to the discovery of the firearms, concerned citizen informed government troopers nearby concerning suspicious items buried in place.
On Monday afternoon, Apr. 25, in Barangay Maiabas, Palanas town in Masbate, government forces conducted a military operation which resulted in an eight minute armed encounter with about 20 armed rebels. Concerned citizens reported the presence of these men within their area before the gunfight.
Report said the rebels were about to conduct a recruitment drive before the encounter that killed two rebels. Government troops recovered an M16 rifle, grenade, seven mines, chemicals, ammunition, communication materials, and subversive documents.