ARMS CACHE. Troops from the 72nd Infantry Battalion discover an arms cache owned by the New People's Army in Barangay Sinaysayan, Kitaotao, Bukidnon on May 20, 2022. Various high-powered firearms were unearthed based on the tip of a former rebel. (Photo courtesy of 72IB)

DAVAO CITY – The Army's 10th Infantry Division (10ID) reported Sunday that its troops unearthed an arms cache containing high-powered firearms and war materiel in Barangay Sinaysayan, Kitaotao, Bukidnon on May 20.

In a statement, the 10ID said two M16 A1rifles, two M4 carbines, one M653 rifle, one M14 rifle, four M16 magazines, and four bandoliers were recovered by members of the 72nd Infantry Battalion (72IB) stationed in Arakan, North Cotabato.

Lt. Col. Jose Regonay Jr., commander of the 72IB, said the location of the arms cache was revealed by Mayunie Man-inday Sayad (alias King), 31, a former full-time member of Guerrilla Front 57 of the New People's Army (NPA).

Sayad surrendered to the 72IB on May 19 because of hunger caused by sustained military operations.

Regonay said that based on the accounts of Sayad, the firearms were buried due to exhaustion of constantly carrying them around when they flee from government operations.

The village is inhabited by about 920, according to the latest population data.

Maj. Gen. Nolasco Mempin, 10ID commander, lauded the 72IB for its relentless effort to end the communist insurgency in their area of operations.

He also thanked the community, especially local leaders, for supporting government forces.

“To the remaining communist NPA terrorists, we again call for your surrender. Just like Sayad, you can choose to peacefully surrender and avail of the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-Clip)," Mempin said in a statement, while warning NPA remnants that the 10ID will use its might to end their atrocities.

E-Clip helps former rebels and their non-armed supporters, Militia ng Bayan, restore allegiance to government and be reintegrated back to the community, be with their families, and start normal lives again with various livelihood assistance and financial aid.

The Communist Party of the Philippines (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.

The Anti-Terrorism Council also formally designated the National Democratic Front 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)