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Army marches to triumph in Q1 of ‘24

By Ana-liza Macatangay

PILI, Camarines Sur --- In its persistent pursuit to end the local conflict affecting the region, the 9th Infantry ‘SPEAR’ Division (9ID), Philippine Army (PA) has achieved a significant edge over its adversaries in the first four months of 2024.

9ID Commanding General, Major General Adonis Bajao stressed the community’s cooperation has played a significant role in subduing members of the New People’s Army (NPA) and tracking fleeing insurgents which led to the seizure of high-caliber firearms, ammunition, and other war paraphernalia.

In the first quarter of this year, the Spear Division neutralized 344 NPA members and retrieved 85 assorted firearms including 2 Crew-Served Weapons, 60 high-powered firearms, 23 low-powered firearms, and 209 explosives.

A top-ranking NPA official, Acting Secretary of the Bicol Regional Party Committee and Deputy Head of the NPA’s National Operations Command Reynaldo Hugo was arrested along with his 3 companions and 12 others.

The unwavering drive against insurgency and continuous successful military operations has also resulted in the surrender of 37 NPA and 291 followers who were disgruntled with the organization.

The army’s defense maneuvers also resulted in 28 government-initiated encounters in the Bicol region. This resulted in the death of four rebels, including Baltazar Hapa alias “Patrick.”

9ID Division Public Affairs Officer Major Frank Roldan confirmed that Rafa is the commanding officer of the NPA’s Komiteng Larangan Guerilla 1, Sub-regional Committee 3. He was killed during a clash with government troops in Brgy. Togawe, Gubat, Sorsogon in January of this year.

The tenacity and persistence of the soldiers led to the dismantling of the sub-regional unit Guerilla 3 of the Sub-Regional Committee 3, Bicol Regional Party Committee (BRPC) last March as declared by the Joint Peace and Security Coordinating Council (JPSCC).

On May 1, one (1) regular member of the NPA and member of the Regional Yunit Guerilla (RYG) under the leadership of Ka “Dove,” voluntarily surrendered at the Presentacion Municipal Police Station (MPS). He was assisted by the station’s assistant Chief of Police, Police Captain Mark Navarroza Spana together with the Project Implementation Unit (PIU) of Camarines Sur Police Provincial Office (CSPPO), Camarines Sur 2nd Provincial Mobile Force Company (PMFC), 83rd Infantry Battalion and other units of the 9ID Philippine Army.

Ka “JR,” not his real name, said that he can no longer endure the hunger and hardships amidst the relentless government troop operations in areas where reported sightings persist.

In another operation on May 5, the 22nd Infantry Battalion responded to a report regarding high-caliber firearms hidden by NPA in Sorsogon. Upon verification, the troop scoured an area in Barangay Maalo in Juban, Sorsogon, and was able to find 4 M16 rifles and other gun materials.

The obtained weapons were found through the help of the barangay residents who wished to end the chaos brought by the insurgents.

Bajao commended the prompt response of the 22nd IB which yielded a positive result. He also thanked the residents for their cooperation. He said this act of caring could inspire other NPAs to abandon the armed struggle, lay down their arms, and re-integrate into society.

He reiterated the government’s sincerity and commitment to resolving the local conflict, causing a great divide among the family members and disrupting peace. He is enjoining all NPAs to avail of the government programs and live peacefully with their families. (PIA 5)


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