By Armando B. Fenequito Jr.
DAVAO CITY — The Eastern Mindanao Command (EastMinCom) has ordered all its troops to continue their support for the implementation of peace initiatives of the different local government units (LGU) in their respective area.
This after the soldiers under EastMinCom discovered high-power firearms reportedly owned by the members of New People’s Army (NPA) in three different places under its area of responsibility.
In a statement, EastMinCom Commander Maj. Gen. Jose C. Faustino Jr. said the battalions should assist LGUs on the implementation of Enhanced Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) to encourage other NPA members to return to the folds of the law.
“The way that the NPAs are stashing their firearms manifest the dwindling manpower of the armed group,” Faustino said.
The statement came after former rebels who surrendered to the military headquarters bared that the number of NPA are already shrinking.
It said that the members of the armed group now are under pressure with the loss of their mass bases, which led them to stash their firearms in arms caches.
On May 2, the 72nd Infantry Battalion (IB) reported the discovery an arms cache which they seized M16 Bushmaster Rifle, M16 Norinco rifle, M79 Grenade Launcher, landmine, ammunitions and magazines at Sitio Camad, Barangay. Camutan, Antipas, Cotabato Province .
A few hours laters, another arms cache with two M16 rifles were discovered at Barangay Magsaysay in the said town.
The report said the discovery was made possible through the revelation of a Political Leader of the NPA who surrendered to 72nd IB.
About noontime of the same date, the 67th IB also seized four AK47 rifles, M14 rifle,Garand rifle, and M79 Grenade Launcher in an arm chache discovered at Sitio Alimot, Barangay Salvacion, Trento, Agusan del Sur .
The location of the arms cache was also bared by a former rebel who surrendered to the 67th IB last month.