Army seizes firearms, explosives in Sorsogon
By Ana-Liza S. Macatangay
PILI, Camarines Sur --- Members of the 22nd Infantry Battalion led by its Commanding Officer Lt. Col. Nelson B. Mico seized three M16 rifles, one (1) KG9, and three (3) anti-personnel mines on Sept. 8 at Barangay Bulala, Magallanes, Sorsogon province.
In a press statement, Division Public Affairs Office (DPAO) Spokesperson Major John Paul Belleza said that concerned residents tipped off its location to the Philippine National Police (PNP) and Mico’s troop who immediately responded to verify the report.
“We were told by concerned residents that there were firearms, ammunitions, and explosives hidden in a copra farm in Brgy. Bulala. They said that they found the courage to report the location of the weapons to the police and the army after learning that residents of Brgy. Calmayon in Juban Sorsogon also did the same thing,” Mico stated.
Belleza considered the recovery of an additional set of weapons from the Communist Terrorist Group (CTG) as the government’s triumph along with its mission to win the war and gain peace in the Bicol region.
Joint Task Force Bicolandia and 9th Infantry “Spear” Division Commander Major General Alex Luna attributed the residents’ allegiance to the army as a sign of their realization that the government is indeed sincere in its campaign to end the local Communist armed conflict in the region.
“Kami po ay muling nagpapasalamat sa walang humpay na pakikipagtulungan ng mga Bikolano. Patotoo lamang ito na ayaw na at sawa na ang mga tao sa mga ginagawa ng mga teroristang grupo. Kami po ay umaasa na ang mga natitira pang mga miyembro ng CTG na nagpapakahirap sa bundok ay maliwanagan na, na sila ay isinusuplong na ng taong bayan. Umaasa po kami na sa pamamagitan nito ay madadagdagan pa sa mga susunod na araw ang mga bababa sa bundok upang boluntaryong sumuko at magbagong buhay,” MGen. Luna said.
Belleza added that on Sept.4, two (2) CTG members carrying their firearms, voluntarily surrendered to the government.
Since Executive Order No. 70, otherwise known as the institutionalization of the Whole of Nation Approach was signed by then President Rodrigo Duterte, more and more CTG members voluntarily surrendered and abandoned the life of hiding and fighting.
The government, thru the Regional Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (RTF-ELCAC) continues, to call on other CTG members to surrender. Under the ELCAC program, rebel returnees will enjoy sustainable livelihood opportunities, lectures on terrorism awareness, and skills training which as provided by AFP’s partner agencies. (PIA5/Camarines Sur)