The 402nd Infantry (Stingers) Brigade continued to score against the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army Terrorists (CNTs) in a series of clashes in the provinces of Misamis Oriental and Agusan del Norte on December 29 and 30, 2020, respectively, through its operationally controlled Battalions, 58th Infantry (Dimalulupig) Battalion and 23rd Infantry (Masigasig) Battalion.
The 402nd Infantry Brigade began relentless focused military operations against the CNTs several weeks ago in anticipation of the CPP Anniversary on December 26 to prevent NPA atrocities, including raids and ambushes against government troops and installations, as well as the killing of innocent IP leaders who support the government and the burning of unsupportive private company equipment.
The initial skirmish between the CNTs and 58IB troopers resulted in the killing of one NPA combatant killed identified as Leonido Pacheco alias Macdong of Special Partisan Unit (SPARU) of the Sub-Regional Committee 1 (SRC1); one captured identified as Aman Bilayong alias Neri of Platoon Ryan, Motorola of SRC1 both under the North Central Mindanao Regional Committee (NCMRC); and seized two M16 Rifles, one KG-9 with magazines, ammunitions and subversive documents on December 29, 2020, in the outskirts of Brgy Silo-o, Malitbog, Bukidnon.
While yesterday, December 30, 2020, the troops of 23IB figured in a five minute firefight against six CNTs who are remnants of the Guerilla Front 4A (GF4A) of NCMRC, at KM6, Purok 26, Sitio Lawaan, Brgy Tungao, Butuan City that resulted to the killing of one CNT identified as alias Alas/Aylon and seized various war materiel namely: one M14 Rifle, one Caliber. 45 Pistol, one magazine each for M14 and M16 Rifle, two motorcycles, one cellphone, one generator, assorted food supplies, and subversive documents.
Brigadier General Maurito L. Licudine, Commander of the 402nd Brigade, praised his Battalion Commanders for the sacrifice and service of their troops as they continued to carry out their mandated task of driving CNTs out of communities so that the holiday season could be celebrated joyfully and peacefully.
“We already know the practice of the NPAs to highlight CPP anniversary with deaths and suffering of innocent civilians to include other violent activities against government troops and even private companies. Hence, we never let our guards down and continue to be vigilant against the treachery and deception of the CNTs,” Licudine said.
On Christmas Eve, two NPA couriers were captured in the hinterlands of Talisayan, Misamis Oriental, thanks to a tip from civilian locals. The couriers were intercepted while attempting to smuggle food and supplies to NCMRC Platoon Falcon, SRC1. One hand grenade, three detonating cords with blasting caps for anti-personnel mines, personal belongings, and subversive documents were also seized from their hands.
“We will be unrelenting on our pursuit for peace in any given circumstance, even this yuletide season. Our troops are always ready to ensure that peace will be enjoyed by our people, especially in the countryside,” Licudine added.
While during the thwarted CPP anniversary celebration on December 26, 2020, due to the continuous presence of AFP troops conducting focused military operation and Community Support Program, the NCMRC met another setback on their weakened terrorist organization after six Milisya ng Bayan (MB) members of GF88 operating in San Luis and some parts of Talacogon and La Paz, all of Agusan del Sur voluntary surrendered to 26IB troopers.
The surrenders and skirmishes, according to BGen Licudine, demonstrated that the people were tired of the NPAs’ brutality and bloodshed and wanted to put an end to it. He urged more vigilance and cooperation from all sectors, particularly local government units and agencies, in order to support residents in far-flung barangays in their struggle against the NPAs.
“We are calling everyone to join hands and rise up against the NPAs. This insurgency will not end unless we are united to stop the recruitment and the resource generation of the CNTs. Together, let us put an end to this problem and attain a lasting peace,” Licudine further said.