MAWAB, Davao de Oro – The Eastern Mindanao Command (Eastmincom) confirmed on Monday that they have successfully dismantled the New People's Army's (NPA) Sub-Regional Committee (SRC) 5, Southern Mindanao Regional Command (SMRC), after 12 of its mostly top-ranking leaders surrendered on January 13.
In a press briefing at the 10th Infantry Division (10ID) headquarters here, Lt. Gen. Greg Almerol, the Eastmincom commander, said the surrenderers suffered defeat during an encounter in the hinterlands of Sitio Minalong, Barangay Kahusayan, Kitaotao, Bukidnon.
The surrenderers included Ida Marie Montero alias Mandy, Secretary and member of Komiteng Tagapagpaganap/Komiteng Kalihiman and Finance Officer; Renato Lubguban alias Jose, Deputy Secretary and Commanding Officer of Sub-Regional Operational Command; Lito Taluwa alias Lito, Acting Commanding Officer; Enrico Caramat alias Marco, Political Instructor; Rudy Saballa alias Egor, Military Adviser and former commanding officer of the dismantled Guerrilla Front 56.
Others who yielded were Lauret Tumbasay alias Wena, medic; Claudia Balite alias Claudia, Giyang Pulitika; Analisa Panduma alias Analiza, Supply Officer; Gerome Chucas alias Rob, Team Leader; and Milisyang Bayan members namely Dioneng Mansugal alias Bansilan; Catalino Mansugal alias Wolok; and Simo Mansugal alias Batugal.
He said the surrenderers brought along nine assorted firearms - three Colt M653 rifles; four M16 rifles; one M14 rifle; one M79 grenade launcher; and two .45-caliber pistols - and other war materiel.
“The dismantling of SRC5 is completely nearing the end of SMRC. What’s left to them are weakened guerilla fronts. [With the dismantling], it showed that all test pilot projects of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP)-NPA in SMRC area have all failed,” Almerol said.
He explained that the CPP-NPA has created a laboratory in the SRC areas for their plans but eventually failed.
“Before June 2022, we will be able to dismantle SMRC. This [dismantling] is very important for us because these are the testing ground where they recruit the Indigenous People (IP) since SRC 5 mostly are ancestral domain,” Almerol said.
He noted that before Eastmincom started their campaign in the SRC5 area, 75 percent of fighting NPA’s comes from the IPs.
“With this feat, and the surrender of their leaders, their thrust to recruit the IPs also failed,” Almerol said.
Ariane Jane “Marikit” Ramos, former secretary of the NPA Guerrilla Front 55, told the Philippine News Agency on Monday that it is “game over” for the SRC5, SMRC as its leaders are surrendering to government forces.
“We failed, that’s why we chose to become mothers and fathers to our children, and likewise to become the children to our parents,” she said.
Ramos said the effect of the dismantling resulted in a big blow to SMRC since it is where they gather their mass bases and NPA recruits.
“Since we will no longer have our mass bases, it is now hard to push the people’s democratic revolution. It means that it’s losing its ground and there is a big possibility that it will collapse in no time,” she said.
“It is game over because they got the leadership of SRC5,” Ramos added.
Alias Mandy, on the other hand, said time is up for SRC since she along with her members had submitted themselves to the government.
“As to the remaining members of SRC5, they cannot put the SRC back. They will also surrender one of these days,” she said.
Mandy also thanked the government for giving them the chance to correct their mistakes.
“No more fear. We no longer fear for our lives,” she said.
Ahead of timeline
Maj. Gen. Ernesto Torres Jr., the 10ID commander, said the dismantling of the SRC5 is way ahead of the timeline set by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte.
“This is the reality on the ground as opposed to the lies being peddled by the CPP information bureau that they still have strong cadres and mass bases. Our joint intelligence units, focused military operations and purposive civil-military office operations led to the destruction of SRC5 and SRGU of the SMRC” he said.
Torres also lauded the Army’s 1003rd Brigade’s accomplishment in dismantling the whole SRC that previously had three guerilla fronts (GF).
In 2016, the SRC 5, SMRC had three guerilla fronts that included the GF 54, 55, and 56; and also one SRGU, all of which are now dismantled.
“Indeed, our efforts against the CPP-NPA in Southern Mindanao is on the endgame. Again, I am calling the remaining deceived members of the rebel organization to lay down your arms, return to the folds of the law and live a peaceful life ahead.” Torres said.
The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines.
The Anti-Terrorism Council also formally designated the NDF as a terrorist organization on June 23, 2021, citing it as “an integral and inseparable part” of the CPP-NPA that was created in April 1973. (PNA)