By Mike U. Crismundo
CAMP BANCASI, Butuan City – Combat maneuvering troops of the Army’s 23rd Infantry Battallion (23rd IB) seized war materiel buried in a secluded place in the outskirts of Sitio Kauswagan, Barangay Bit-os, this city on Sunday, Capt. Al Anthony B. Pueblas, chief Civil Military Operation (CMO) officer of the Army’s 402nd Infantry (Stingers) Brigade told The Manila Bulletin.
The 402nd Brigade CMO officer also said that elements of the 23rd IB under the command of Lt. Col. Francisco Molina, Jr. are still scouring the area to search for other possible hidden war materials by the fleeing Communist New People’s Army Terrorists (CNTS).
“The discovery of this materiel was the result of the tip of concern villagers,” stressed the CMO officer.
“The CNTs immediately ran away to a nearby mountainside in Kauswagan area when operating troops of the 23rd IB arrived,” added Capt. Pueblas.
In his initial report sent to Brig. Gen. Franco Nemesio M. Gacal, commanding general of the 402nd “Stingers” Brigade, Lt. Col. Molina said operating troops initially seized in Kauswagan area improvised explosive devices and firing wires, four magazines of M14 rifle, four magazines of M16 Armalite rifle, four rifle grenades, one ammunition of M203 Grenade Launcher and more than 2,000 rounds of assorted live ammunition.
“The successful recovery of said war materials is the result of the community’s cooperation to peace and development efforts of the Philippine Army,” the 23rd IB commander said.
Meanwhile, the 402nd “Stingers” Brigade was the recipient of the “Gawad Kalinaw (Peace) Award” for downgrading the CPP-NPA Guerilla Front Committees 19 and 88, during the recent 12th Founding Anniversary Celebration of the AFP Eastern Mindanao Command in Panacan, Davao City, it was learned yesterday.
The exemplary and meritorious citation was personally received by the 402nd “Stingers” Brigade commander Brig. Gen. Gacal from AFP Eastern Mindanao Command Chief Lt. Gen. Benjamin R. Madrigal, Jr.
The Regional Peace and Order Council (RPOC) in Northeastern Mindanao commended the 402nd Brigade, along with its all operational control units for such “Gawad Kalinaw Award”, it was also learned.