Army: Rebels having hard time to occupy anew former stronghold territories in city

DESPITE the installation of a new commander, the New People Army (NPA) will be having a hard time in occupying some barangays they once held in the hinterlands of city, the military said. 

Lt. Col. Darren Comia, the commander of 16th Infantry Battalion, said the NPA’s Pulang Bagani Company 1 is already operating far away from the areas under his command.

“(They are) away from Davao City,” Comia told reporters during the AFP-PNP press briefing on Wednesday.

The 16th IB operates in the boondocks of the city, particularly in the district of Paquibato and upper barangays of Calinan district.

He said barangay officials are apparently jubilant that armed rebels are no longer roaming around their areas “for quite some time.”

“I don’t think they will come back,” Comia said.

The NPA operation in the area was hampered following the arrest of Ka Jinggoy (real name Elizalde Tormis Canete), the erstwhile commander, last month.

A certain Ka Raymund reportedly assumed Ka Jinggoy’s post based on the report from two rebels who recently surrendered.

On June 23, two PBC 1 members, identified as Ka Anes and Ka Renzo, surrendered to the 16th IB troopers in Barangay Paquibato Proper. They surrendered two landmines and a .45 caliber pistol.

“They (the surrenderers) slowly felt the hardship,” Comia said.

First, the army officer pointed out, the NPAs are no longer operating in their traditional guerilla base because they are already shooed far away.

Secondly, Comia said the effort of the military, with the coordination of other government agencies, in crashing the insurgency is successful.

He said they are doing much effort to entice the remaining rebels to surrender.

“We need to end the NPA,” he added.

The two rebel returnees, just like other previous surrenderers, will be receiving financial aided through the Enhance-Comprehensive Local Integrated program (E-CLIP).

The PBC 1 of the NPA’s Regional Operations Command, Southern Mindanao Regional Committee (SMRC) primarily operates in the hinterlands of city and parts of Davao region and the province of Bukidnon.

Ka Jinggoy was arrested on May 28 in a private hospital in Don Carlos, Bukidnon where he was operated and recuperated for almost three weeks following an encounter. He is currently detained at the Davao City Jail in Barangay Ma-a as he is facing at 12 various criminal cases, some non-bailable offenses, in the different trial courts in Davao.

Jinggoy took over the top PBC 1 post following the death of Ka Parago (real name: Leoncio Pitao) in 2015.

Parago was a close friend then of former Mayor and now President Rodrigo Duterte.


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