FIREARMS DESTRUCTION. Department of National Defense OIC Undersecretary Jose Faustino Jr. (extreme right) and National Security Adviser Clarita Carlos (center) lead the destruction of firearms belonging to the communist New People's Army on Thursday (Aug. 11, 2022) at the Eastmincom headquarters in Davao City.  At least 54 firearms were destroyed during the ceremony. (PNA photo by Che Palicte)

DAVAO CITY – The Eastern Mindanao Command (Eastmincom) destroyed on Thursday 54 firearms belonging to communist rebels during a ceremony at Naval Station Felix Apolinario Panacan, the command’s headquarters here.

Maj. Alex Mindalano, Eastmincom public information officer, said the firearms formed part of the 4,607 firearms retrieved or surrendered in their area of responsibility from 2017 to date. The command's jurisdiction covers Regions 11, 12, and 13.

“The 54 firearms were confiscated, surrendered, and recovered from the communist New People’s Army (NPA) rebels,” Mindalano said in an interview.

Among those who witnessed the demilitarization were National Security Adviser Clarita Carlos, Department of National Defense (DND) officer-in-charge Undersecretary Jose Faustino Jr., and National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) Executive Director Emmanuel Salamat.

Demilitarization is the process of destroying firearms to make them unusable by cutting them into pieces or deforming each firearm.

It ensures that the firearms surrendered by former rebels would not fall into wrong hands and be used in illegal activities, military officials said.

The Communist Party of the Philippines-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 National Democratic Front has been formally designated as a terrorist organization by the ATC on June 23, 2021, citing it as “an integral and inseparable part” of the CPP-NPA created in April 1973. (PNA)