CAMP AGUINALDO, Quezon City – It has been nine days since the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) launched an “All-Out War” against the New People’s Army (NPA) as directed by the President and Commander-in-Chief, Rodrigo Roa Duterte. And since then, the communist rebels had suffered several tactical defeats and the support of some frightened citizens continues to erode. This is a result of the deliberate, surgical, focused, and well-planned combat, intelligence, and civil-military operations conducted by the AFP in various areas around the country.
While the National Democratic Front (NDF) continues to push for the resumption of the peace negotiations, it is clear that they are losing hold of their men on the ground. They are either attacking innocent civilians and business establishments; or surrendering to the government fold.
In Trento, Agusan Del Sur, NPA members abducted Rene Badoc Carlos, Brgy. Chairman of Pangyan, Trento, Agusan Del Sur, and his wife Mrs. Maribeth Carlos on February 5 at 8:00 PM. They were last seen in Mongkayo, Compostela Valley. Reports from the Philippine Army’s 25th Infantry Battalion stated that the victims were with a relative, barangay councilor, and barangay tanods when they were taken by the NPAs. The couple’s companions were released while Rene and Maribeth were held and hogtied by the perpetrators.
In Maco, Compostella Valley, two civilians were abducted by NPAs on February 8. The victims were identified as Jun Jun Custodio and his son, Marjun Custodio.
On February 11, at 5:00 AM, troops from the 29th Infantry Battalion while acting on reports of NPA presence in Santiago Town, Agusan Del Norte, were indiscriminately fired upon by more or less ten (10) fully-armed NPA rebels. As a result, two (2) civilians were killed while one (1) soldier was killed-in-action. Three (3) civilians were also seriously wounded.
On February 11 at 2:45 AM, troops from the 67IB while onboard three (3) KM450 military trucks were attacked with IED by NPA members in Caraga, Davao Oriental. No casualty was reported.
On February 12, about two (2) NPA members fired upon the Bonacao CAA Detachment in San Fernando, Bukidnon. No casualty was reported.
Encounters and Subsequent Surrender/Apprehension
On February 10 at 5:47 AM, troops from the 31IB while conducting security operations encountered fifteen (15) NPA members in Magallanes, Sorsogon. The firefight lasted for about fifteen (15) minutes. After which, the enemy withdrew in a southwest direction.
On February 11 at 10:45 AM, members of the 60IB encountered a group of NPA rebels in Laak, Compostela Valley. Two amazons identified as Alias Joy and Alias Rose surrendered to 67IB after the troops had a talk with 150 displaced families. The 60IB also recovered three (3) IEDs.
On February 11, at 10:30 AM, troops from the 73IB engaged in a two-hour firefight with the NPA in Brgy. Little Datal Anggas, Sarangani. One soldier was hurt and brought to Davao City for medical attention.
On February 12, following the encounter in Sarangani, six (6) NPA members; five (5) of which carrying high-powered firearms were captured by 73IB:
1. Simeon Salda
2. Jun Moda (with M16 rifle)
3. Claude Palbe (w/ garand rifle)
4. Garzon Palbe (w/ garand rifle)
5. Rene Ompao (w/ garand rifle)
6. Sabelo Colano (w/ carbine rifle)
On February 12, a CPP-NPA leader was arrested at around 4:20 PM in Caloocan City by the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group – National Capital Region (CIDG-NCR) and Intelligence Service Group-Philippine Army (ISG, PA). Arrested was CPP-NPA leader Ferdinand T. Castillo, Secretary of the Metro Manila Regional Party Committee at Brgy. Sta Quiteria, Caloocan City. The arrest was done by virtue of a warrant of arrest for the crime of Double-Murder and Multiple Attempted Murder issued by the Regional Trial Court Branch 63, Calauag, Quezon last 08 September 2016. CIDG-NCR and ISG, PA upon arrest recovered assorted IDs, a cal .45 pistol, and a chamber loaded with live ammunition from his possession.
On February 13, at 6:30 AM, elements of 2IB and 96 Military Intelligence Company while conducting security operations in Brgy. Pangle in Masbate encountered more or less 20 NPAs. The firefight lasted for 20 minutes, after which, the enemy withdrew towards a southeast direction. No casualty was reported from the government side while four (4) were killed on the NPA side. The troops also recovered two (2) M14 rifles, two (2) M16, one (1) m203, and subversive documents. The troops are still scouring the area as of the moment.