TACURONG City — Since he took over the command of the 33rd Infantry (Makabayan) Battalion (33IB), 6th Infantry (Kampilan) Division, Philippine Army, Lt Col Harold M. Cabunoc facilitated the surrender of about 100 CPP-NPA armed men at the Daguma Mountain Range in Sultan Kudarat province.
On January 27, 2018, a company of 33IB headed by Captain Austin John Jamora discovered the abandoned encampment of the New Peoples Army (NPA) terrorists under their so called Platoon Arabo led by a certain Ka Yoyo and Platoon MyPhone led by a certain Ka MacMac at Kilometer 13, Barangay Sto. Nino, Bagumbayaan, Sultan Kudarat.
The CPP-NPA terrorists encampment is at the hillside which can accommate 50 persons.
On February 7, 2018, a section of the PNP-Special Action Force led by Police
Inspector Ween Pagoli also discovered an abandoned encampment of the same CPP-NPA terrorist group at Tandang, Barangay Monteverde, Bagumbayan, Sultan Kudarat.
At least 30 CPP-NPA terrorists could have occupied the said encampment a week before it was discovered.
On August 20, 2017, an active CPP-NPA terrorist training camp with an obstacle course in Barangay Laguilayan, Isulan, Sultan Kudarat was also overrun by the 33IB.
After the gun battle, the military troops captured two CPP-NPA terrorists and recovered an M16 rifle, one IED, a hand grenade and assorted ammunition.
The joint operations conducted by the military and the SAF troopers in the area have weakened the forces of the CPP-NPA terrorists and also affected their recruitment.
The combined government troops who constantly conduct patrolling coupled with series of community engagements have hindered the movements of the terrorist group and hampered the flow of their food supply.
For instance, 33IB decisively engaged last December 3 the NPA terrorists at Sitio Datal Bonglangon, Barangay Ned, Lake Sebu, South Cotabato where eight NPA terrorists were killed.
The fatalities happened to be members of the Indigenous People (IP) or Lumads in the area who fell to the deceptive recruitment of the NPA terrorists.
According to Regional Director Woylin P. Wong of the National Commission on Indigenous People (NCIP) Regional Office XII, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources has issued Integrated Forest Management Agreement (IFMA) that allows the Servicultural Industry Incorporated (SII), another subsidiary of the Consunji Group of Companies, to operate in the area without Free Prior Informed Consent ( FPIC) of the Lumad-claimants of the area.
The Manobo Dulangan and Manobo Sadat have made their legal claim in that area.
The terrorist NPA terrorists have been using this issue to recruit supporters from the Manobo and tagged the company’s security forces as the “Mapang-aping Company Guard ng Consunji”.
They claimed that FPIC is a must under the Indigenous People’s Rights Act (IPRA).
“However, recently in Lumad communities of Sitio Blukon, Sitio Striker, (and) Sitio Buhangan, (all of) Barangay Sto. Nino, most of these NPA recruits have already surrendered to the military,” said Lt. Col. Cabunoc.
”They (NPA) find a hard time in sustaining their armed group nowadays. It is a big challenge for them to re-supply their armed group for we already captured one of their errand boys who buy food for them, “ Lt. Col. Cabunoc added.
Lt. Cabunoc explained that “in winning the battle against lawless elements like the NPA terrorists, it is through good governance, with the full cooperation of the Local Government Units (LGU) by providing intelligence fund, rice allowance, and constant IP assembly or community engagements, we are gradually winning them back.”
During the last six months, there has been no CPP-NPA attack in the area of responsibility of 33IB. This may be a positive indication that the terrorist CPP-NPA has weakened and the program of the LGU and the military is definitely working. (Arthur J. Tariman/SPRINT NEWS)