CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews / 23 Aug) – The military in Mindanao claimed significant victories against the New People’s Army as they destroyed scores of firearms they captured from the rebels during a series of encounters for the past eight months.
“I don’t want to say we are winning but we have downgraded five guerilla fronts from January this year,” Maj. Gen. Ronnie Villanueva, commander of the Army’s 4th Infantry Division, said Wednesday as soldiers tore up 75 firearms they captured from the rebels.
Villanueva cited the key central Mindanao province of Bukidnon, which used to have an active guerilla front.
Using an industrial saw, soldiers broke up 75 firearms, including two M60 machine guns, they captured from the rebels.
Villanueva said the firearms are part of the 740 firearms the AFP Eastern Mindanao Command captured since January this year.
“That is for this year alone. If we include those we seized last year, it would be some 1,040 firearms,” he told reporters.
Villanueva said the EastMinCom has captured at least 300 rebel camps in its area of responsibility.
He said most of these camps are equipped with containers of rice, medicine, firearms and ammunition that the rebels can lay their hands on as they passed through communities.
The EastMinCom is fighting the bulk of the concentration of NPA rebels in Mindanao.
The 4ID, which operates in the northeastern part of Mindanao, claims it is fighting a total 700 to 800 armed guerillas. (Froilan Gallardo / MindaNews)