NSFA, Panacan, Davao City – The Commander of Eastern Mindanao Command (EastMinCom), LtGen. Greg T. Almerol is anticipating the near end of the Communist Terrorist Group (CTG) in his joint operational area as EastMinCom concluded 2022 with five Sub-Regional Committees (SRC), nine Guerilla Fronts (GF), and four Vertical NPA Units dismantled.
Of the 32 Guerilla Fronts confronted by EastMinCom since the onset of Campaign Plan “Kalinaw Sidlakang Mindanao” in 2017, 28 or 88% of the total have already crumbled, while the four remaining Guerilla Fronts are already at their weakest.
Among the dismantled was the GF19, SRC Southland, North Eastern Mindanao Regional Committee (NEMRC), which LtGen. Almerol describes as one of the most notorious CTG units in the Caraga Region that recruited Indigenous Peoples (IP) and minors to join the armed struggle.
“The GF19 was involved in operating former CTG-linked schools in Agusan del Sur and Surigao del Sur, where the Indigenous Peoples’ (IPs) children were brainwashed and recruited in the terrorist movement. Its dismantling is an open door for the future declaration of strategic victory in the Caraga Region, where significant CTG formations remain,” the EastMinCom Commander said.
Aside from the dismantled CTG units, EastMinCom also neutralized 533 CTG regulars, with 71 killed, 48 captured, and 416 surrendered from January until December 2022, including 198 Underground Mass Organizations (UGMOs) personalities and other elements who withdrew their support to the CTG.
Among the high-value individuals neutralized in the said period include, Menandro “Bok” Villanueva, the Secretary of Southern Mindanao Regional Committee (SMRC)/Komisyon Mindanao (KOMMID) and 3rd Vice-Chairman of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP); Pedro “Gonyong” Codaste, the 2nd top-ranking New People’s Army (NPA) Commander in Mindanao; and 55 other CTG leaders.
The communist terrorists’ firepower further declined as troops recovered 631 firearms, and 121 anti-personnel mines (APM) through combat operations and the surrender of former rebels. Troops also discovered a total of 91 enemy hideouts within the same time frame.
On top of these, the Davao Region was declared by President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. as “insurgency-free” on October 27, 2022, as a result of the successive defeats of the remaining CTG units in the five Davao Provinces and one Highly-Urbanized City.
LtGen. Almerol noted that these victories are outcomes of the convergence of Local Government Units, National Government Agencies, and the military under the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC). He also associated this with the determination of former rebels to yield and support the government to end the decades-old armed conflict and achieve national progress.
“The immense support of the civilian government and former rebels in our cause towards peace and progress was never in vain. We thank all of them for helping us end 2022 with massive breakthroughs in our campaign, leaving the CTG in Eastern Mindanao at the brink of extinction,” the EastMinCom Commander said.
He also lauded the troops for their sacrifice and unrelenting efforts to pursue the Communist terrorists, which led to overwhelming accomplishments of the Command.
Meanwhile, LtGen. Almerol reiterated his call to the remaining CTG forces to surrender peacefully now that most of their top-ranking leaders, such as CPP Founder Jose Maria Sison, are already dead.
“To the remaining CTG members, now is the best time to yield. Let your reconciliation with your families and the government serve as your new year’s resolution in starting a new life. The death of Jose Maria Sison and the neutralization of your other leaders signal that the collapse of your organization is imminent. Surrender now to avoid the same consequence, and we will ensure that you will receive the benefits of the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP),” he expressed.