TABUK CITY, KALINGA – Commander of the 50th Infantry Battalion Lt. Col. Martin Daiz Jr. reported that six New People’s Army (NPA) terrorists in Kalinga were neutralized in 2017 with 35 still operating in the province.
Of the 35 NPA members, 14 are located in Balbalan, 13 in Pinukpuk, four in Lubuagan, three in Tinglayan, three in Tabuk City, and one in Tanudan.
At the top of the military’s list is Rudy Daguitan who has a bounty of P2.35 million, followed by Tomas Maggay with P2.2 million, Claver Bawit with P700,000, and Nora Miguel and Leonardo Manadao both have a P400,000 bounty on their heads. Daguitan is located in Tanudan while the rest are holed up in Balbalan.
Since the start of 2017 the military had engaged with NPA members six times, seized 20 firearms, and recovered 15 encampments in Balbalan and Pinukpuk.
The Commander of the 503rd Infantry Battalion Col. Leopoldo Imbang meanwhile reported 27 non-violent activities in the last quarter of 2017. In the same time period, one violent activity occurred: the two-hour encounter at Sitio Dopoo in Barangay Mabaca, Balbalan on November 8.
Imbang said that the NPA terrorists operating in Kalinga are members of the Lejo Cawilan Command, Kilusang Larangang Gerilya (KLG) Baggas of the Ilocos-Cordillera Regional Party Committee (ICRC). He said that the group has two platoons in the province “but now they are actually merged together.”
He raised President Rodrigo Duterte’s declaration of the communist group as a terrorist organization. “I would just like to emphasize the termination of negotiations with the CPP-NPA and identification of the group as a terrorist organization under RA 10168. The president has declared the CPP-NPA as a terrorist group and we have marching orders on this one. We would like to solicit support from the LGU so that they won’t be able to recruit individuals from Kalinga to become terrorist members of the NPA,” he said.
He assured Governor Jocel Baac and Vice Governor James Edduba of constant coordination between the military and local government units (LGUs). “We will inform the LGUs accordingly of our operations and if there will be changes, the governor will always be informed properly,” he said.
Daiz, for his part, strongly recommended the assistance of LGUs in bringing the NPA members’ surrender in light of President Duterte’s declaration. “Sooner or later, yung mga pinagkukunan nilang supply might be considered a supporter or sympathizer. We are just informing you on what is about to happen next. Para hindi naman damay yung mga inosente, matakot na sa NPA na magbigay ng supply, we would want the LGUs to help the military in facilitating their surrender,” he said.
By Iryll Sicnao