Another leader of NPA remnants in Leyte surrenders to 19th IB
Tacloban City (February 5) -- One more leader of the New People's Army remnants in the province of Leyte voluntarily surrendered to the 19th Infantry Battalion and 802nd Brigade on February 4, 2008 at about 5:30 o'clock in the afternoon, First Lt. Luel Adrian M. Benedicto, Public Information Officer and Spokesman of the 19th Infantry Battalion of the 8th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army based in Kananga, Leyte, informed.
The NPA leader was identified as Jessie Payod @ Nabil, team leader of the Squad Abe, Buhawi Platoon, Mount Amandawin Command, North Leyte Front, who a little after he surrendered to the military, revealed that he is tasked by the NLF Committee to safe-keep several of the NPA's high-powered firearms in the hintelands of Albuera, Leyte and that he was willing to pinpoint the exact location of the NPA firearms cache.
Reacting to the said revelations, Col. Raoul Reyes, commander of 802nd Brigade, directed Lt Col. Henry Bumiltac, commanding officer of the 19th IB to send a Reaction Force to locate the arms cache.
The Platoon led by Second Lieutenant Jose Laurel M. Sibullas, after going to Barangay Talisayan, Albuera, Leyte together with Nabil, brought back with them the arms cache consisting of five (5) M16 Armalite Rifles bearing serial numbers RP 118828, RP207467, RP 3401432, RP 114585 and RP104856; eleven (11) long and twelve (12) short magazines for M16 rifle with four hundred seventy four (474) rounds of caliber 5,56mm ammunition for M16 rifle; one (1) Rifle Grenade: and one (1) Fragmentary Grenade.
Nabil, the surrenderee, revealed that the recovered firearms and the other items belonged to their former leaders and fighters who either died in armed engagements or deserted due to the hardships and distrust within their organization or who lied low for some other reasons.
Furthermore, on February 1, 2008, the 19th IB also conducted a raid in Barangay Caghalo, Carigara, Leyte, base on a tip-off information from a disgruntled former Communist Terrorist member, and confiscated a Garand and a Springfield Rifles, 3 caliber.22 revolvers and assorted ammunition for M14 and M16 rifles.
Lt. Col. Bumiltac says that most of the remaining leaders and members of the North Leyte Front are now contemplating to return to the folds of the law due to various factors.
Many of the NLF key leaders and members voluntarily surrendered because they chose to live normal lives within the folds of law, a trend that was established through the successful internal security campaign of the 19th IB of 8th ID.
Other reasons are the sincerity of the government in providing livelihood assistance projects, livelihood training and cash awards for the NPA surrenderees with high-powered firearms has improved many lives and reunited many broken families.
Lt. Col Bumiltac further said that life in area has significantly improved in terms of peace and security since the North Leyte Front was effectively decimated last year.
Meanwhile Co. Raoul Reyes of the 802nd Infantry Brigade said that the decline of the NPA movement in Leyte, Southern Leyte and Biliran could be attributed to the relentless efforts of the Brigade in protecting the cleared barangays from being re-infiltrated by the insurgents. Col. Reyes claimed that the sustained establishment of Integrated Community Safety System in each barangay would effectively harden each community against the CPP/NPA.
For his part, Major General Armando L. Cunanan, the commander of the 8th Infantry Division declared that aside from peace and security aspects, the economic development activities sprouting all over Leyte and its immediate environs and the delivery of basic government services and effective governance, are the main reasons why insurgency is now ceasing to persist.
Major General Cunanan congratulated the troop of 19th and 802nd Brigade for the significant stride towards the attainment of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo's objective to defeat the CPP-NPA-NDF by the year 2010. (PIA 8) [top]