NSFA, Panacan, Davao City – Despite the bad weather condition that welcomed 2023, LtGen. Greg T. Almerol, the Commander of Eastern Mindanao Command (EastMinCom), said that it still turned out good as three members of the Communist Terrorist Group (CTG) surrendered on New Year’s Day, January 1.
The said personalities, identified as Maximo “Joey” F. Vibas Sr., Squad Leader, his live-in partner Jennifer “Angel” T. Gagbo, and Nelboy “DJ” N. Yubos – who also brought along a 5.56mm Magpul rifle – yielded to the troops of the 29th Infantry Battalion (29IB) under the 901st Infantry Brigade (901Bde), 4th Infantry Division (4ID) at Brgy. Comagascas, Cabadbaran City, Agusan del Norte.
They were all members of Sentro de Grabidad 16, Guerilla Front 16, Northeastern Mindanao Regional Committee (SDG16, GF16, NEMRC).
The former rebels also aided the 29IB troops and intelligence units in recovering seven high-powered firearms, two magazines, and a generator set as they revealed the location of two arms caches at Sitio Sikreto, Brgy. Cuyago, Jabonga, Agusan del Norte, following an initial interview on the same day. The firearms consist of five M16 rifles, an M4 rifle, and an M203 Grenade Launcher.
Meanwhile, LtGen. Almerol lauded the troops of 4ID’s 901Bde and 29IB for their unceasing efforts and sacrifices to end the CTG despite the holidays and bad weather.
He also expressed his optimism to defeat the communist terrorists in his joint operational area this year as their depleting forces are diminishing further, and their four remaining guerilla units are already “hanging by a thread.”
“We are very optimistic to dismantle the remaining Guerilla Fronts in our area and declare the whole of Eastern Mindanao as insurgency-free this year. Despite the CTG’s weakened status, we will not rest and will even intensify our focused military operations to run after their remnants,” he said.
“This is our commitment. However, we cannot pursue this without the will of local leaders and the support of the people. Thus, we are asking for everyone’s full support ultimately achieve peace and prosperity this 2023,” the EastMinCom Commander added.
LtGen. Almerol also renewed his call to the remaining CTG forces to lay down their arms and avail of the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) to end their suffering and begin living peacefully with their families.