3 AFP battalions returning to Davao

THE THREE battalions of the Philippines Army’s 10th Infantry Division (ID) that were sent to Sulu last year will be returning to Davao next month, said Gen. Eduardo Año, the chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

 The return of the soldiers to their mother headquarters at

The Eastern Mindanao Command (EastMinCom) is the AFP’s preparation in its drive to end the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army.

 “After Marawi, it’s time to crush the CPP-NPA,” Año said. “That is why (we) will be returning the battalions (to Davao) to finish (the communist insurgency).”

 Last year, the three members — the 68th Infantry Battalion (IB), 69th IB and 2nd Scout Ranger Battalion — were sent to Sulu to help in the fight against the Abu Sayyaf Group.

 The 10th ID, also known as the Agila Division, operates in four regions, 12 provinces, seven cities, 72 municipalities and 1,681 barangays. It covers the whole of Davao Region, parts of Region 12 (Sarangani, South Cotabato, 2nd District of North Cotabato and Columbio, Sultan Kudarat), portion of Region 10 (Bukidnon) and parts of Region 13 (Trento in Agusan del Sur and Lingig in Surigao del Sur in Caraga area.

 It has for brigades, composing of 14 battalions, under its command, including Task Force Davao and Joint Task Force Gensan.

 Last month, the 10th ID has activated 89th IB as an additional force in Davao Region in the fight against CPP-NPA and other terror groups.

 Meanwhile, the 4th ID, based in Norther Mindanao, has activated a new battalion, the 88th IB (Maringal), which will be tasked to secure the southern part of Bukidnon, in the boundary of Davao.

 In a ceremony held at the 88IB headquarters in Maramag, Bukidnon, Maj. Gen. Ronald Villanueva, 4ID commander, emphasized that the ultimate objective of the new battalion is to fight terror groups.

 “When we talk about terrorism, we don’t only mean Maute or ISIS, we also talk about the New People’s Army,” Villanueva said. He said the NPA has “long made the lives of our people in Bukidnon miserable.”

 “Not only that they burn trucks and plantations but also extort hard-earned money from poor farmers,” he said. “Worst, (they) recruit children to fight against the government.”

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