By Franck Dick Rosete
CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY: The capture of two high-ranking New People’s Army (NPA) combatants and their four other comrades in Misamis Oriental could mean a major setback for the communist armed group, an Army official said in a statement on Friday.
Lt. Col. Ricky Canatoy, Army’s 58th Infantry Battalion (58IB) commander, said the NPA’s Sub-Regional Committee (SRC-1) is on the verge of collapse as they captured top NPA guerrillas Jemar Hilogon, 28, commander of Platoon Cherry Mobile, GF Huawei, of the North Central Mindanao Regional Command (NCMRC); and Rubensito Hilogon, 50, a Militia ng Bayan field commander.
Four others, identified as Jobert Hilogon, a Militia ng Bayan member; Alice Calimhay Hilogon, 31; Jocelyn Hilogon Cabusog, 50; and a minor, all from Lagonglong town, were also apprehended in the same operation.
The NPA combatants were captured during a military operation in Barangay Umagos, Lagonglong, Misamis Oriental on Thursday, October 14.
Military intelligence indicated that the two NPA leaders also belonged to the province’s most wanted persons, with pending cases for kidnapping and serious illegal detention.
“This is what I was talking about in the previous month that the capture of their top leaders will be a major setback for the armed group. The SRC 1 is on the verge of collapsing, and we’re looking at completely penetrating all the surviving commanders and destroying their forces,” Canatoy said.
“To the remaining members, I implore you to return to the folds of the law right now. We guarantee your safety and that you will receive all benefits due to you under the government’s flagship program for rebel returnees,” he added.
The joint law enforcement operation with the Police Regional Office 10 was carried out after an encounter between the 58IB troopers and the NPA on October 13, following a series of pursuit operations against the fleeing communist guerrillas.
During tactical interrogation, Jemar revealed the location of their firearms in Sitio Roa-Roa, Umagos village, Lagonglong town.
Government troops seized high-powered firearms and other items that included an M14 rifle, a Garand rifle, an AK-47 rifle, two rifle grenades; 10 rounds of ammunition for AK-45 extended clip, another 10 rounds of ammunition for an M16 rifle, six rounds of ammunition for the M14 rifle, and three mobile phones.
The captured combatants were brought to the City Mobile Force Company at the Maharlika headquarters in this city for the proper filing of charges in court.
(Philippine News Agency)