A resident of San Miguel town, Surigao del Sur tipped off the Philippine Army about an alleged supply stash belonging to the New People’s Army (NPA), leading to the successful seizure and recovery of the goods.
According to Capt. Francisco Garello, Jr., the civil-military operations officer of the Army’s 36th Infantry Battalion, the stash consisted of bomb-making materials, communications equipment, and various types of ammunition.
Soldiers of the 36th IB found the stash in Barangay Siagao on Sunday, Dec. 23.
Garello said that the discovery of the supply cache was made following a villager coming forward and telling the military of its location. Garello did not clarify whether the stash was found hidden inside a house or buried undergound. Both methods are favored by the NPA for hiding their supplies, even for food goods.
However, Lt. Col. Xerxes Trinidad, commander of the 36IB, said that supporters of the NPA are typically tapped by local combatants to store their supplies as a means of purposely easing their loads before they go off to conduct raids or harassment exercises. Supplies are also commonly unloaded as NPA rebels avoid pursuit from Army troops.
Trinidad said that the discovery of these supplies through a villager’s help shows “that local folks are already tired of being used as safe-keeper” as “hiding place.”
“The successful capture of said supplies was the result of the yearning of the residents to achieve peace and in support to the Army’s commitment to bring normalcy even in the far-flung areas previously influenced by the CPP-NPA,” Trinidad said. The Army official was referring to the Communist Party of the Philippines, NPA’s mother organization.
“People especially coming from conflict-affected areas desperately want to achieve long lasting peace and the Army will (help) them attain the peace that everyone wanted,” he further said.
Trinidad also included in his statement to all remaining active NPA fighters and rebels to “lay down their arms, avail the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) and finally join their families during this Christmas season.”