By Mike Crismundo
CAMP BANCASI, Butuan City – The area command here of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Saturday disclosed that five guerilla fronts of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) in Mindanao have already been downgraded, with fighters either surrendering or being neutralized, and encampments being over-ran in relentless government operations.
Field unit commanders of the AFP’s Northeastern and Northern Mindanao Fourth Infantry Division (4th ID), the largest maneuvering Army division stationed in Mindanao, have claimed significant victories against the CPP-NPA terrorists (CNTs) as combat maneuvering troops destroyed scores of firearms seized from in series of encounters beginning January this year.
For the past eight months, Maj. Gen. Ronald C. Villanueva, commanding general of the 4th ID said the AFP Eastern Command already captured at least 300 rebel camps spread throughout Mindanao.
“Most of the captured CNT encampments were equipped with containers of rice, medicine, firearms, and ammunition,” claimed the 4th ID chief.
Meanwhile, the Eastern Mindanao Command (Eastmincom) turned over to President Rodrigo Duterte more than 1,000 firearms recovered from the Communist rebels within the army unit’s area of responsibility.
The turnover was held during the Eastmincom’s 12th Founding Anniversary held at the camp in Panacan last August 23 at the Naval Station Felix Apolinario in Panacan, Davao City where the President was guest of honor.
In another development, a 17-year-old NPA fighter surrendered to government troopers on Friday in Bonifacio, Misamis Occidental.
According to authorities, Jemar Labito Salayon was with a group of NPA terrorists when they encountered elements of the 10th Infantry Battalion in Barangay Hoyohoy, Tangub City last August 11.
However, he was wounded in the left knee and was abandoned by his comrades, leaving him no choice but to surrender to the troopers. (With reports from Yas Ocampo and Bonita Ermac)