Army destroys 215 firearms, explosives seized in Region 8

By Roel Amazona

February 27, 2020, 4:21 pm

<p><strong>DEMILITARIZATION.</strong> Soldiers destroy firearms seized from rebels and armed groups during a ceremony in Catblogan City, Samar on Wednesday (Feb. 26, 2020). The Philippine Army general headquarters approved the cutting of firearms using a metal bond circular saw. <em>(PNA photo by Roel Amazona)</em></p>

DEMILITARIZATION. Soldiers destroy firearms seized from rebels and armed groups during a ceremony in Catblogan City, Samar on Wednesday (Feb. 26, 2020). The Philippine Army general headquarters approved the cutting of firearms using a metal bond circular saw. (PNA photo by Roel Amazona)

 CATBALOGAN CITY, Samar – The Philippine Army 8th Infantry Division (8ID) has destroyed 215 firearms and explosives recovered in Eastern Visayas since 2011.

Lt. Gen. Gilbert Gapay, Philippine Army commanding general, led the demilitarization ceremony at Camp General Vicente Lukban on Wednesday. Witnessing the event were Diocese of Calbayog Bishop Isabelo Abarquez and 8ID commander, Maj. Gen Pio Diñoso III.

The national headquarters approved the cutting of firearms using a metal bond circular saw. Government troops have seized these firearms in combat operations against the New People’s Army and private armed groups in the region.

Gapay lauded the Army in the region in its fight against insurgency and in maintaining peace and order and security in Eastern Visayas.

“Despite some deficiency, the effective leadership of the 8ID had made you one as the best division in the country. Effective leadership motivates and become a role model of our soldiers,” the official said.

He added that commitment and dedication of soldiers and their positive teamwork was also helpful in achieving better performance. “If none will do their duty properly, this will affect the efficiency of the entire unit or organization,” Gapay added.

But despite this achievement, the military official said soldiers must continue to perform their sworn duty and achieve the government’s goal to eradicate insurgency to have lasting peace in Eastern Visayas.

The region’s military command is targeting to end local insurgency problem by 2022 by operationalizing Executive Order 70 issued by President Rodrigo Duterte on Dec. 4, 2018. The directive also institutionalizes a “whole-of-nation approach” in attaining an inclusive and sustainable peace.

The top military official said there are talks on setting a deadline for rebels to surrender, especially in Samar Island. Those who will not surrender will have to face the full military operation.

"Our recommendation is maybe by the middle of this year. We have to draw the line and set for a date if until when we can allow rebels to surrender," Gapay said.

Gapay went on to appeal to active rebels to surrender now and avail of the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program before it’s too late. (PNA)

 

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