188 rebels 'neutralized' in C. Mindanao in past 7 months

By Edwin Fernandez

September 5, 2023, 7:01 pm

<p>Major Gen. Alex Rillera, the Philippine Army’s 6th Infantry Division commander. <em>(Image courtesy of 6ID)</em></p>

Major Gen. Alex Rillera, the Philippine Army’s 6th Infantry Division commander. (Image courtesy of 6ID)

CAMP SIONGCO, Maguindanao Norte – At least 188 members of threat groups have been “neutralized” by the military in Central Mindanao since January this year, the Army’s 6th Infantry Division (6ID) said Tuesday.

During the same period, 486 guns were also recovered and surrendered to 6ID field units, said Maj. Gen. Alex Rillera, the 6ID commander and head of Joint Task Force Central (JTFC).

In a statement, Rillera described the achievement as a "remarkable feat" by military units in the provinces of Maguindanao del Norte, Maguindanao del Sur, Sultan Kudarat, South Cotabato, parts of Sarangani, North Cotabato, and Lanao del Sur.

Rillera said the radical groups “encompass a range of affiliations and ideologies, posing threats to the security and progress of local communities.”

To date, he said the 6ID neutralized 49 communist rebels and saw a notable decline in activities of the communist New People’s Army (NPA).

Of the 49, seven were apprehended, 12 died during armed clashes, and 30 decided to renounce violence and reintegrate into mainstream society.

Rillera said the outlawed Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) also faced a significant blow after one fighter was arrested, 17 died in armed clashes and 101 surrendered to authorities.

The Dawlah Islamiyah terror group also suffered losses with nine of its members rendered ineffective through a combination of arrests, casualties, and surrender.

Rillera said the persistent campaign of the security forces led to the apprehension of 11 members of private armed groups (PAGs).

The series of operations against PAGs also resulted in the confiscation of 213 firearms, crew-served weapons, and explosive materials.

Rillera acknowledged the support of local government officials who helped facilitate the surrender of unlicensed guns through the “Balik-Baril Program.”

Some 273 firearms have been handed over to various military units under JTFC from January to August this year. (PNA)