ILIGAN CIY (MindaNews / 19 October) — The Army’s 97th Infantry Battalion (IB) has recovered five high-powered AK-47 assault rifles owned by the New People’s Army (NPA) in Barangay Bunawan, Godod, Zamboanga del Norte, with the help of communist rebels who surrendered to the government.
Lt. Col. Manaros Boransing, 97th IB commander, said the weapons were retrieved Friday morning, 17 October, through the information provided by former NPA rebels, a couple identified only by their aliases Garry and Grace.
The weapons were buried by the dwindling forces of the NPA Cell Feliciano Alpha (Flex A) command, the official said in a belated report reaching here.
Brig. Gen. Leonel Nicolas, 102nd Infantry Brigade commander, said the communist rebels have been surrendering to the government due to the military’s intensified combat operations against the NPA.
“The continued commitment of the military and the different stakeholders in implementing the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) will motivate the remaining rebels to lay down their arms and return to the folds of the law,” Nicolas said .
The 97th IB is set to turnover the recovered firearms to the Zamboanga del Norte Provincial Police Office for remuneration under the E-CLIP program.
Maj. Gen. Generoso Ponio, 1st Infantry “Tabak” Division commander, enjoined all stakeholders, including the Local Task Force To End Local Armed Conflict, to sustain the government’s momentum to defeat the NPA, which the military labeled as a “communist terrorist group (CTG).
Ponio said they are “seeing the end of the communist insurgency in Zamboanga Peninsula” with the surrender of their members.
“We will be victorious in this battle and in due time, the peace-loving people of Zamboanga Peninsula will enjoy a safe, peaceful and progressive society for their families,” Ponio said.