GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/13 August) – Government troops recovered on Sunday a light machinegun and ammunition reportedly stashed by New People’s Army rebels (NPA) at a portion of T’boli town in South Cotabato that was allegedly intended for planned attacks on several companies in the area.
Lt. Col. Jones Otida, commanding officer of the 27th Infantry Battalion, said Tuesday the M60 bulldog machine gun, which he described as a military grade weapon, was found by their troops in Mt. Marbao, Barangay Kematu in Tboli.
He said they initially received information from concerned residents regarding the presence of an arms stash in the area.
“We validated the report and conducted an operation. True enough, we found the weapon at the identified spot,” he said in a radio interview.
Otida said the firearm was a significant find, noting that it is considered as a light machinegun and commonly used by the military.
Citing intelligence reports, he said it was hidden in the area by a unit of the NPA’s Guerrilla Front 73 that is allegedly planning to conduct atrocities, targeting companies in Tboli town.
He said among the targets is a packing plant of a company operating a banana plantation in parts of the municipality.
“This is connected to the continuing extortion activities of the NPA on big companies within the area,” he said.
In a statement, the Army official said the planned attacks were confirmed by three NPA rebels who surrendered to their troops last Aug. 9.
He said the returnees, who laid down three M-16 Armalite rifles, were formerly under Platoon Brigol, Guerilla Front Musa-Far South Mindanao Region.
“This battalion condemns the plan atrocities of these CPP (Communist Party of the Philippines)-NPA terrorists. Communities and business establishments should be spared from any attack,” he said.
“We appreciate the unending support of the community in tipping off the presence of the communist terrorist group. Through these efforts, we endeavor to achieve peace and development (in the area),” Otida added. (MindaNews)