By Martin Sadongdong
A new battalion of Philippine Army soldiers was positioned in Rizal province as the military aims to deliver the “final blow” against insurgents in southern Luzon, a high-ranking official said Saturday.
Maj. Gen. Arnulfo Marcelo Burgos Jr., commander of the 2nd Infantry Division, said the 59th Infantry (Protection) Battalion (59IB) will augment the forces in the division’s priority areas “to decimate the few remaining NPAs [New People’s Army]” in the region.
The 59IB was activated two weeks ago and placed under the command of the 2nd Infantry Division. Its members — about a hundred soldiers — successfully completed the mandatory organizational training last Friday.
“The deployment of hundreds of additional soldiers to the frontlines is our proactive response to President Rodrigo Duterte’s directive to end local communist armed conflict before the end of his term,” Burgos said.
In December 2019, Duterte reiterated his resolve to end the communist rebels and terrorists as he ordered the military to “crush” the threat groups.
Burgos also called on the communist rebels to give up their armed struggle “because these additional forces, with its full military might, will hunt you down until you run out of space to hide.”
For his part, Lt. Col. Edward Canlas, who was assigned to lead the new battalion, said the unit “is now combat-ready.”
“The soldiers are focused to locate, engage, and deliver the coup de grace against the NPA remnants who are now on the verge of irreversible collapse,” Canlas said.
Prior to its activation as a combat unit, the 59IB was the administrator of the 2ID’s auxiliary forces for 16 years.
In a related development, 190 youngbloods took their oath as new members of the Army in a recent ceremony, said Captain Jarald Ternio, chief of the 2ID’s public affairs office.
The candidate soldiers will undergo six months of military training prior to their deployment to the frontline units as soldiers with the rank of private.