BACOLOD CITY – For successfully dismantling the Northern Negros Front (NNF) of the New People’s Army (NPA), the Philippine Army's 79th Infantry Battalion (IB) based in Sagay City, Negros Occidental has received a Gawad Kalinaw plaque and campaign streamer from the Armed Forces Philippines Central Command (CentCom).
In rites held on Tuesday at the battalion headquarters in Barangay Bato, Lt. Gen. Roberto Ancan, CentCom commander, commended the 79IB troops headed by commanding officer Lt. Col. J-jay Javines for their “untiring dedication and contribution to the accomplishment” of the command’s mission.
The NNF is part of the NPA’s Komiteng Rehiyon-Negros, Cebu, Bohol and Siquijor.
“Now that you have achieved your goal in dismantling the Northern Negros Front, your next mission is to protect the gains, prevent the communist-terrorists’ recovery efforts, and sustain the peace and development in northern Negros,” Ancan told the troops.
The 79IB covers mainly the first, second and third districts of Negros Occidental as well as this capital city.
1Lt. Dansan Camua, civil-military operations officer of the 79IB, told the Philippine News Agency on Wednesday that before the battalion was declared to have dismantled the NNF, they went through a series of evaluations and met a set of parameters, based on the AFP and Philippine National Police Joint Letter Directive (JLD) 03-2020.
The latter refers to the “Guidelines in Evaluating the Effectiveness of Internal Security Operations in Support to the National Thrust to End Local Communist Armed Conflict”.
Camua said the initial evaluation was conducted by the 303rd Infantry Brigade (IBde), which was followed by a validation of the 3rd Infantry Division, after which another round of evaluation and validation was also conducted by the CentCom and the National Command.
“On April 6, 2021, the Joint Peace and Security Coordinating Center issued Joint Resolution 04-2021 declaring that the NNF is already dismantled,” he added.
Camua said there are still remnants of the NPA rebels in the north, who try to recover their territory, but the 79IB troops counter their terroristic activities with sustained efforts initiated under the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict.
A total of 25 out of the 26 insurgency-cleared villages in Negros Occidental are located in the northern part of the province.
For his part, Javines gave credit to his predecessors for the earlier efforts they put in to dismantle the NNF, and also acknowledged the support of the community.
“We are very much honored for this award, and this would not be made possible without the support of our stakeholders and peace-loving constituents of Northern Negros,” Javines said.
During the ceremony, which was also witnessed by Col. Michael Samson, deputy commander of 303IBde, five troopers of 79IB received the Silver Cross Medal for their gallantry in action during the conduct of several focused military operations.
The recipients were 1st Lt. Giselle Pacquiao, Technical Sgt. Joven Antiqueña, Staff Sgt. Gilbert Cabando, Sgt. Michael Vallejera, and Pfc Edgar Tañan.
The Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army, which has been waging more than five decades of armed struggle against the government, is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines. (PNA)