36IB: breaking the walls of impossibilities in SurSur

THE REGION
By Army Diamond
July 22, 2019

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The area of operation of 36IB in Surigao del Sur for the past decades has been widely
known as lairs of the Communist NPA Terrorist since the 1980s. Decades of waging
fears and threats not only to the community but also to the businesses and livelihood of
the residents.


The NPAs has already formed a shadow government in the geographically isolated and
disadvantaged areas (GIDAs) wherein basic services of the government were denied.
Through the deployment of Community Support Programs, various CMO activities, and
the relentless military operations to thwart the armed groups threatening the community,
the 36IB together with the collaborative efforts of the different government agencies was
able to slowly realize the delivery of basic services to the locals.


Notably, the national highway of Surigao del Sur particularly in the area of 36IB was
cleared of CNT atrocities for the entire year of 2018 up to this date as compared to the
previous years where tourism and economic activities were hampered by the frequent
ambuscades, burning of private trucks and equipment, attacks on businesses, and the
flagging down of travelers along the national highways.


With the sincere gesture of the government to help uplift the lives of the locals, many have
withdrawn their support from the local communist movement and voluntarily surrendered
to the Army. From the year 2018 to this date, a total number of fifty nine (59) CNT regular
members and MBs who surrendered to the unit have received financial assistance,
livelihood, TESDA trainings, firearm remunerations, access to government services,
medical assistance, psychological assistance, legal assistance and a lot more.

Another one hundred seventy nine (179) of them are still on process to be validated and enrolled
to the E-CLIP to receive the same assistance from the government.

As more and more communities became aware of the deceptions made by the CPP-NPA-
NDF, shifting of mass support to the government was felt. Last march of this year, Brgy

Mampi of Lanuza, SDS has declared the CPP-NPA-NDF and its allied organization as
persona non grata. Other inner barangays of the province directly affected by the CNT
influence followed through to include the areas of ancestral domains of the IP
communities. As of this date, a total of 12 barangays, 1 municipality, 2 CADTs, and the
province of Surigao del Sur have declared them persona non grata with other areas soon
to follow.


Through the overwhelming support of the people, many attempted attacks of the CTGs
against the government forces has been foiled due to the tipping off of the local populace
who is already fed-up with the terrorists decades-long banditry.


It can be recalled that a supply cache was seized by the 36IB troopers at Sitio Himat-e,
Brgy Cayale, Tago, Surigao del Sur last 02 January 2019 which were left for safekeeping
in their trusted contact/supporter in the barangays purposely to ease some loads carried
by CNTs when conducting raids/harassments or to avoid pursuing army troops. Another
supply cache was captured in a cave through the revelation of a concerned resident of
Purok Salikot, Sitio Bato, Brgy Bitaugan, San Miguel, Surigao del Sur last 17 April 2019
which resulted to the capture of dozens of medical supplies and other war materials.


Another incident of civilians giving timely information was the successful combat
operation against CNTs at Brgy Cancavan, Carmen, Surigao del Sur last May 2019 which
resulted to the death of four (4) CPP-NPA terrorist and capture of six (6) high powered
firearms, one (1) low powered firearm and other documents with high intelligence value.


The Local Government Unit of Carmen lauded the Army’s 36th Infantry (Valor) Battalion
for the successful operation of anti-insurgency campaign against the Communist NPA
Terrorist thru passing of a resolution and awarding of certificate of commendation.


The military alone was never a solution to end insurgency. Hence, collaboration amongst
the different government agencies to include the private sector and the community itself
must be realized applying the “whole-of-nation” approach. In line with the
operationalization of PRRD’s Executive Order No. 70, the Army’s 36IB participated in the
launching of skills, livelihood and enterprise development programs for the locals and
former rebels of Sitio Ibuan, Brgy Mampi, Lanuza, Surigao del Sur last 18 July 2019
spearheaded by the Poverty Reduction, Livelihood and Employment Cluster (PRLEC),
Surigao del Sur with TESDA as its lead agency. It aims for the adoption of a peace
framework to address the root causes of the insurgency, internal disturbances and
tensions and other armed conflict and threats. It also aims to prioritize and harmonize the
delivery of basic services and social development package of the government by
facilitating societal inclusivity and ensuring active participation of all sectors of the society
in the pursuit of the country’s peace agenda.
In line with AFP’s mandate based on the Executive Order No. 23 making the anti-illegal
logging operation as a military operation, the 36IB have enhanced its campaign against

illegal logging in partnership with the PNP and DENR in support to the government’s
program in the preservation and protection of the environment.


As of this date since January 2018, troops of the 36IB have conducted sixteen (16)
successful anti-illegal logging operations in the province of Surigao del Sur that resulted
to the confiscation of a total 66, 220.48 board feet illegal logs with an estimated market
value worth P1, 647,054.80.


In his statement, Ltc Xerxes Trinidad PA, Commanding Officer of 36IB, “Now is the time
to act and support our government in its peace initiatives towards our common goal of
resolving the decades-long insurgency. Let us not be hindered by our individual
differences and should work together as one. We are Filipinos known to the world as
peace-loving people and resilient to all natural or man-made calamities.”

"Nothing is impossible if everyone commits to their mandates and obligations. Your
soldiers will remain true to its mandate to serve the people and secure the land. We will
do everything in our capabilities, no matter what the cost, just to ensure the safety of our
people and the protection of our democracy towards a progressive country," Army official
added.


"We are calling to the remaining CNTs to surrender now and avail the E-CLIP. Let us
make Surigao del Sur a peaceful place that could foster the foundation of an economic
growth for a better Philippines," Ltc Trinidad ended.


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