Butuan City – An alleged New People’s Army (NPA) commander and one of his men were arrested by a joint operation conducted by the Army and police at Barangay Dona Rosario, Tubay, Agusan del Norte province, military and police reported Monday.
Army and police reports said the captured NPA commander was tagged as allegedly responsible for burning an agricultural aircraft and gas pump belonging to Mindanao agri-traders at Tubay town last August 23.
The reports stated that the suspects were identified by witnesses as responsible in burning the company’s agricultural aircraft and gas dump in a village in Tubay town.
Identities of the NPA commander and the regular communist fighter have been temporarily withheld pending further investigation on their involvement in other attacks in Northeastern Mindanao.
Col. Jonathan Ponce, commanding officer of the Army’s 402nd Infantry (Stingers) Brigade based at Bancasi here could only describe the captured NPA commander as being the commanding officer of Sub-Regional Command Sentro De Grabidad “Westland” while the regular red fighter is a member of guerilla-Front Committee 30, both of the CPP-NPA Northeastern Mindanao Regional Committee (NMRC).
Recovered from them were two loaded caliber .45 pistols, two hand grenades, two blasting caps, a detonating cord, two black shoulder bags, PNP uniforms and cash amounting to R25,500.00. The money is believed to be the proceeds from forced taxation extortion imposed on villagers and small-time rural businesses.
According to the Ponce, cases has been filed yesterday against the two for illegal possession of firearms and explosive.
Another case is arson which will be filed after the company has already computed the total cost of damage of the agricultural aircraft and gas dump, Col. Ponce said.
“The close coordination with our PNP counterpart is the key to the successful apprehension of these two criminals. We thank the people who pinpointed the location of these two NPAs,” Col. Ponce said.
Meanwhile, a high ranking official of the area command of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in Northeastern and Northern Mindanao expressed gratitude to local residents for helping government forces in solving the communist insurgency problem in their respective villagers.
“It is sad to note that the remaining NPA rebels who are still in the mountains suffered the hardship in the mountains while their leaders and officials are living in air-conditioned flashy homes in subdivisions,” said Maj. Gen Oscar T. Lactao, commanding general of the Army’s Northeastern and Northern Mindanao 4th Infantry (Diamond) Division.
Lactao urged parents to watch their children closely so that they would not be deceived by the propaganda offered by the underground movement.
“Kawawa ang mga buhay nitong mabilang na lang na NPA sa kabundokan at tinatawagan ko ang mga magulang na yakagin na nila ang kanilang mga anak na sumanib na sa peace and development program ng ating pamahalaan,” added the highest ranking military official in the region.