• GILBERT P. BAYORAN
Within a period of 10 days during the new year, the Armed Forces of the Philippines – Visayas Command reported that the New People’s Army suffered loses, having five of its members neutralized, resulting in the recovery of 13 high-powered firearms.
Two of the five neutralized rebels died in separate encounters in Himamaylan City, Negros Occidental, and in Guihulngan City, Negros Oriental, leading to the recovery of two M16 assault rifles, an M4 automatic rifle, an M14 rifle, an M79 grenade launcher, a rifle grenade, four 40mm high explosive grenades and assorted ammunition.
Three others were arrested by the police and military through joint law enforcement operations in Brgy. Cambayobo, Calatrava, that yielded a 9mm and 2 .45 caliber pistols.
Felix Susas Jr., one of the three arrested rebels, has numerous pending arrest warrants for murder, in connection with the killing of barangay chairman Benjamen Javoc and Renato Estrebello, as well as homicide, illegal possession of firearms, and violation of the Human Security Act of 2007.
Acting on information provided by a former rebel, Army soldiers also recovered a cache of guns hidden by rebels in Brgy Maligaya, Mahapalag, Leyte. The arms cache contained one AK47 assault rifle, one M16 rifle, one M1 Garand rifle and an M79 grenade launcher.
Maj.Gen. Benedict Arevalo, acting commander of the AFP Visayas Command, lauded the government troops for their unwavering commitment in sustaining the gains against the NPA terrorist group.
Arevalo said the series of debacles suffered by the CPP – NPA manifested government soldiers’ utmost dedication and steadfast commitment to defeat of the communist terrorist group, and to swiftly serve justice to those they terrorized.
He urged the rebel remnants in the Visayas region to lay down their arms and return to the folds of the law.
“The long arms of justice will eventually catch up with you. We will never stop, and we will never falter in our commitment to win the peace for the people in the Visayas,” Arevalo said, in a statement issued by the AFP Visayas Command.*