SECURITY forces have captured the highest leader of the New People’s Army in Bukidnon, prompting military officials to declare that the communist-inspired insurgency in the province could be on the verge of being wiped out.
In Masbate, policemen serving a warrant of arrest also killed five rebels during a firefight, a report reaching Philippine National Police chief General Guillermo Eleazar said.
Army 4th Infantry Division (4th ID) spokesman Major Francisco Garello Jr. identified the captured alleged rebel leader as Ramil Banawan alias Migs, Kim and Edukaw, resident of Sitio Danquias, Barangay Cawayan, Quezon, Bukidnon.
Garello said Banawan is the secretary of the Guerilla Front Malayag, Sub-Regional Committee 2 (SRC 2) of the NPA’s North Central Mindanao Regional Committee (NCRMC).
He was captured on Monday along with Marcelino Bandigan alias Niks and Raymond, team leader of Squad Uno of the Guerilla Front (GF) Malayag, during an operation by the 88th Infantry Battalion (88th IB) at Mt. Kumong Tabanog, Sitio Lugayaran, Barangay Palacpacan, San Fernando, Bukidnon.
The capture of the two rebel leaders followed the successive firefights with their group last month, according to 403rd Infantry Brigade commander Brig. Gen. Ferdinand Barandon, who has operational jurisdiction over the province.
“Ramil ‘Migz’ Banawan, together with more or less 20 CNTs encountered the 88IB last September 8, 2021 resulting in 4 CNTs (communist terrorists) killed. The 88th IB captured 10 more CNTs, which include three minors, and was able to seize 16 high-powered firearms at Barangay Mabuhay, San Fernando, Bukidnon,” Garello quoted Barandon as saying.
“On September 10, 2021, the 88IB encountered GF Malayag’s Platoon Bagsik, resulting in the capture of four CNTs including two minors and seizure of six high-powered firearms at Barangay Laligan, Valencia City, Bukidnon,” Barandon added.
4th ID commander Major Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr. said the arrest of the leaders of the GF Malayag and other high-ranking members of the NCMRC should pave the way for the defeat of the group.
”With the capture of GF Malayag’s top leader, we are hoping that this would signal the realization of the remaining CTG (communist terrorist group) members and leaders to abandon the armed struggle and heed our call for peace,” Brawner said.
At Camp Crame, Eleazar commended the personnel of the Police Regional Office 5 (PRO 5) over the neutralization of five rebels in Masbate.
PRO-5 operatives were about to serve a warrant of arrest for five counts of murder and attempted murder against the rebel’s Larangan 1 guerilla front leader Eddie Rosero, also known as “Arnold Rosero” and “Ka Star,” in Barangay Bugtong, Mandaon in Masbate on Sunday when the firefight ensued.
Eleazar said Rosero spotted the approaching police personnel and immediately directed his companions, also believed to be communist rebels, to engage the policemen in firefight.
The encounter resulted in the death of Rosero and four others.
Recovered from the site were two .45 caliber pistols, three M-16 armalite rifles, an M-14 rifle and several homemade bombs.