The Army’s 602nd Infantry Brigade has seized 11 camps of the New People’s Army in the hinterlands of Tulunan and Magpet towns in North Cotabato within 24 days, after brigade-sized operations were started about a month ago, its commander, Negrense Col. Ademar Tomaro, said yesterday.
Tomaro said they also recovered several improvised explosive devices, including landmines, planted by rebels along their withdrawal routes, and 2 M16 and AK 47 assault rifles, more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition, in four encounters, that led to the seizure of 11 rebel camps.
The 602nd Infantry Brigade is pursuing more than 100 armed NPA guerillas, who compose three NPA guerilla fronts.
Tomaro commended the troops of 7th, 40th, 57 Infantry Battalions, the 6th Scout Ranger and the 10th Special Forces companies, for their collaborative efforts with civilians and local government units in accomplishing their missions, but said it would not have been realized if not for the support of community leaders and the civilian sector.
He also offered his assistance to rebels injured in the series of encounters, and who may now want to live normal lives with their families.
The Magpet municipal council and Association of Barangay Captains, and Mayor Efren Pinol, recently rallied behind the 602nd Infantry Brigade, that had been accused of “militarizing” North Catabato, ILt. Antonio Bulao, 602nd Infantry Brigade Civil Military Operations officer, said.
Bulao said “militarization” is when there is a strong influence of a military government and the government policy is invested in the military. This is not what is happening in North Cotabato, he added.
Major General Caezar Ronnie Ordoyo, 6th Infantry Division commander, also expressed satisfaction with the 602nd Infantry Brigade troopers for making a headway in addressing threat groups, in a statement he issued.*GPB
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