Negros Army’s new commander vows relentless pursuit of rebels

BACOLOD CITY -- Col. Orlando Edralin took over the helm of the Philippine Army’s 303rd Infantry Brigade (IBde) as its 28th commander in Negros Occidental.

Lt. Gen. Benedict Arevalo, commander of the 3rd Infantry Division (ID) and acting commander of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP)-Visayas Command, presided the turnover rites held at the 303rd IBde headquarters in Barangay Minoyan, Murcia town on Tuesday, Jan. 31.

Edralin replaced Col. Michael Samson, who served the 303rd IBde as its deputy commander for years, and acting commander for more than a month.

Before his reassignment in Negros, Edralin served as deputy commander of the 301st IBde based in Panay since 2018, and also served the AFP’s elite Special Forces Regiment and Special Operations Command.

Edralin vowed to conduct a more intensified intelligence-driven civil military and focused military operations in order to ensure the neutralization of the remaining communist terrorist groups (CTGs) in the area of operation.

Edralin said that he will be relentless in pursuing the remaining armed fighters and supporters of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) in the area of operation, until all the remaining weakened guerilla fronts are dismantled.

“It will be long and hard, blood will surely flow but for sure there will be no withdrawal,” he stressed.

Edralin said they will also continue to capitalize and implement the framework of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) to sustain the gains and continue with the delivery of the much needed socio-economic programs and interventions in the different cleared barangays and isolated villages.

He also said that they will continue the conduct of the community-supported sustainment program in order to prevent the CTGs in their recovery efforts and expansion to other barangays.

He said they will also continue their information drive to strengthen the awareness of the people, especially the youth who are the primary target of CTG recruitment in coordination with concerned members of the Regional Task Force (RTF)-ELCAC.

Meanwhile, Samson will be waiting for the decision of the higher office regarding his reassignment to the 301st IBde.