BUTUAN CITY – Troopers of the 23rd Infantry Battalion (23rd IB) seized thousands of live ammunition concealed in a hideout abandoned by the New People’s Army (NPA) in a forested area of Sitio Palo, Barangay Nong-nong, Butuan City on Wednesday, the military reported Friday.
Following a report from concerned civilians on the activities of the rebels and about the location of a hideout in the area, the 23rd IB troopers immediately conducted a combat operation that led to the discovery and seizure of the cache of ammunition, 23rd IB Civil Military Operations (CMO) officer First Lt. Roel T. Maglalang told The Manila Bulletin on Thursday afternoon.
“The abandoned CNT hideout is capable of accommodating around 10 persons,” he said.
Recovered from the site were 1,200 rounds of live ammunition for Carbine rifle, 390 rounds for Garand rifle, and one long magazine for M16 Armalite rifle.
Lt. Col. Julius Cesar C. Paulo, commanding officer of the 23rd IB expressed gratitude to the concerned citizens who bravely provided positive and timely information to the government forces regarding the whereabouts of the enemies.
"We are glad that the residents in barangays now willingly and bravely supported us in ending the insurgency in conflict-affected areas of Butuan City and Agusan del Norte,” he said.
“Through the cooperation and active participation of civilians, the Army is able to uncover another CNT hideout concealed with supplies and cache of ammunition for high-powered firearms,” the 23rd IB commander said.
In the past month, government forces also recovered, landmine depots, firearms and supply cache in different NPA hideouts within the area of operations through the information provided by concerned residents.
The 23rd IB commander lashed at the remaining members of the insurgents in the area for continuing terroristic activities, such as extortion of money and food from poor residents in communities who have been suffering for months now due to the impact of the pandemic.
“We once again call on the remaining NPA members and leaders to surrender now. Let us end the 51 years of hopeless armed struggle and embrace the true meaning of peace,” Paulo said.
He added that the government was always ready to help those who will return to the fold of the law through the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP).
“But if you insist to stay with your weakening movement, the army will not hesitate to use its arms against you," the 23rd IB commander further added.