Eastmincom orders troops to hunt NPA rebels in border areas

By Che Palicte

July 11, 2019, 8:34 pm

DAVAO CITY --The chief of the Eastern Mindanao Command (Eastmincom) has directed government troops to run after New People's Army (NPA) rebels who are forced to hide in border areas.

Lt. Gen. Felimon T. Santos Jr. gave the order Wednesday during the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP)-Philippine National Police (PNP) security assessment meeting here.

"We will adopt a seamless boundary in the conduct of operations so that we can run after those terrorists withdrawing on the boundaries and prevent them from seeking refuge, reorganize, and stage atrocities," Santos said.

Based on government assessments, Santos said communist terrorists are forced to flee in the porous eastern Mindanao border areas to escape heightened military and police operations.

The NPA rebels, he added, are also forced to avoid areas where they traditionally seek support as more communities have rejected the rebels' presence in their villages.

During the first semester of 2019, Eastmincom said about 305 firearms were surrendered while 224 firearms were captured during encounters and combat operations.

On the other hand, 339 NPA regulars and 424 Milisyang Bayan surrendered to the AFP. About 1,985 members of the Underground Mass Organizations (UGMO) also dissociated themselves from the rebels, Eastmincom said.

Eastmincom said at least 55 NPA rebels were killed during armed encounters and 55 were also arrested during the military and law enforcement operations in the same period.

"With these gains, let us support other agencies through the Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict's (TF-ELCAC) mechanism as they will solidify the peace gains that our troops have worked for, by addressing the issues that are being used by the CTGs in agitating the communities for them to join the armed group," Santos said. (PNA)