GENERAL SANTOS CITY – Government troops seized 42 illegal firearms from suspected supporters of the New People’s Army (NPA) in focused military operations in Maitum town, Sarangani province on Thursday.
Col. Eduardo Gubat, commanding officer of the Army’s 603rd Brigade, said the firearms were confiscated by elements of the 38th Infantry Battalion (IB) from various personalities who are reportedly members of the NPA’s “Milisya ng Bayan”.
Gubat said the troops were operating in parts of barangays Batian and Zion in Maitum when they recovered the weapons, mostly homemade shotguns.
The “Milisya ng Bayan” unit, part of the support mechanism of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) - NPA, was under the Platoon West of Guerilla Front 73 (Musa) - Far South Mindanao Region, he said.
“Our troops are currently conducting dialogue with the villagers so that they will not anymore be deceived by the communist terrorist group,” Gubat said in a report.
He added that their units have been conducting clearing operations in the area, which is near the province’s boundaries with South Cotabato and Sultan Kudarat.
The confiscated firearms, he said, were brought to the 38IB headquarters in Barangay Kamanga, Maasim town for safekeeping.
Maj. Gen. Juvymax Uy, Joint Task Force Central commander, said in a statement the operation was a proactive measure to preempt the terrorist plots and criminal activities in the area.
“Our aggressive drive against terrorism and lawlessness (in these areas will) continue,” Uy said.
The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines. (PNA)