Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Army declares N. Samar town as rebel-free

From the Philippine News Agency (Jun 7): Army declares N. Samar town as rebel-free

The Philippine Army 20th Infantry Battalion together with the Northern Samar police provincial office declared on Wednesday the town of Mondragon, Northern Samar of having stable internal peace security.

Mondragon is a third class farming town in Northern Samar province politically subdivided into 24 villages. As of 2015, it has a population of 38,726.  A Memorandum of Agreement was signed by Armed Forces of the Philippines represented by Brig. Gen. Mario G. Lacurom, commander of the 803rd Infantry Brigade, Northern Samar police provincial director Supt. Cezar Zafiro Tannagan, and Mondragon Mayor Mario Madera.  The oath of the pledge of commitment followed the signing at the Mondragon town hall.  

Madera thanked the military and police for the unending support given to them. He likewise emphasized that the solution to the countless problems can never be achieved through the barrel of the gun but through the community being one.  “Let us affirm our commitment to adhere to our common goal of achieving a peaceful and sustainable development in the whole province of Northern Samar,” Lacurom said.

Army troopers who were on foot patrol in a remote village of the Municipality of Veruela in Agusan del Sur captured on Tuesday three communist guerrillas who were carrying sacks loaded with firearms and ammunitions.

Soldiers belonging to the 26th Infantry Battalion took advantage of the situation and in no time collared the New People's Army (NPA) known as Bernie S. Perez alias Ariel, Joel S. Perez alias Jo and Nino S. Perez alias Onin.

Local police said Bernie S. Perez has a standing warrant of arrest for murder.

Recovered from the NPA combatants were two improvised explosive devices with blasting caps and wires, an M16 Armalite rifle, an M1 Garand rifle, a caliber 45 pistol, a caliber 38 revolver and several rounds of ammunitions, according to a military report of the incident.

Soldiers said they noticed that the sack being carried by one of the arrested NPA members revealed an outline of a rifle, prompting them to make the arrest, said Lt. Col Rommel Pagayon of the 26th IB in an incident report transmitted to Col Cristobal Zaragoza, commander of the Army’s the 401st Brigade.

Nino S. Perez attempted to flee but was captured in the ensuing pursuit operation, the military report said. Major Gen. Benjamin Madrigal of the Fourth Infantry Division (4ID) congratulated the troops even as he exhorted them to be more vigilant of NPA activities. Authorities have already filed criminal charges against the captured guerrillas.

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