By DPAO, 8ID PA
January 5, 2023
CAMP LUKBAN, Catbalogan City – The troops from 14th Infantry Battalion (14IB) of 8th Infantry Division discover and seized an arms cache of four high-powered firearms at the hinterlands of Barangay Maligaya, Mahaplag, Leyte, January 05, 2023.
This is after the revelation of former supporters of the Underground Mass Organization (UGMO) in the said area.
The said arms cache consists of one AK47 assault rifle, an M16 rifle, an M1 Garand rifle, a 40mm M79 Grenade Launcher, and assorted magazines that belongs to Platoon 1 of Sub-Regional Command-LEVOX, Eastern Visayas Regional Party Committee (P1, SRC-LEVOX, EVRPC).
It was learned that the firearms were buried by the group due to their inability to recruit and recover former mass bases to fill in their ranks.
The series of engagements with the populace and the continued delivery of basic services and socio-economic development in the area have enlightened the populace of the deceptive scheme of the Communist Terrorist Groups (CTGs).
The 14IB has immersed its Community Support Program team in Barangay Maligaya of Mahaplag Leyte and intensified government service through the implementation of the Retooled Community Support Program. And this became an avenue for the barangay to be a recipient of the Support to Barangay Development Project last 2022.
The Commanding Officer of the 14th Infantry Battalion, Lieutenant Colonel Ernesto Dela Rosa expressed that indeed the propaganda of the terrorists on convincing the local populace to support them is now futile because of the efforts of the government.
“This achievement displays the support of the civilian populace to the Philippine Army as they no longer want the Communist NPA Terrorists (CNTs) to regain their influence and control in the communities, much more of stockpiling food supplies and armaments,” Dela Rosa said.
Dela Rosa said that the information and security awareness conducted among the civilians have been one of the great tools to combat the terrorist’s propaganda.
“Our Operation Plan “PAHIBALO”, an information and security awareness program, equipped the civilians with the right information to make them strong enough to stand against the CTG exploitations and deceptions,” Dela Rosa added.
Meanwhile, the Commander of 802nd Infantry Brigade Colonel Noel Vestuir renewed his call on the remaining NPA to surrender.
“I reiterate my call to the remaining NPAs who are still hiding in the mountains in our area of responsibility to surface and join their families in the mainstream of our society. You are no longer welcomed by the people in the communities since they are already with us in our efforts to end this 54 years of local communist armed conflict. They are now giving us the information on your whereabouts, the locations of your pre-positioned foods in the area, and even your arms caches,” Vestuir said.
The Commanding General of the 8th Infantry Division Major General Camilo Ligayo lauded the members of the Retooled Community Support Program of the Municipality of Mahaplag for the effective implementation of Whole-of-the-Nation Approach.
"The institutionalization of the whole-of-nation approach is an effective tool to eradicate the issues that the CTGs used to deceive our fellow countrymen. With the convergence of Local Government units, national agencies, and government forces, the services and programs for the people are continuously being delivered and this addresses the issues being exploited by the CTGs that pollute the minds of our countrymen," Ligayo said.
Ligayo also assures that the 8ID will support the effort and ensure the implementation of the Barangay Development Projects towards peace and development.