By Glazyl Y. Masculino
BACOLOD City – An alleged member of the Yunit Militia of the New People’s Army (NPA) was arrested at Sitio Mabato, Barangay Talaon, La Libertad, Negros Oriental last Sunday.
The Army identified the suspect as a certain Tony ‘Tonyo’ Elod, an alleged member of Central Negros 1, Komiteng Rehiyon Cebu, Bohol, Negros and Siquijor.
Authorities seized from him a .38 caliber revolver with six rounds of ammunition, a homemade shotgun with built-in magazine, and six rounds of 12 gauge shotgun ammunition.
A joint operation of the Army’s 62nd Infantry Battalion (IB) and La Libertad Municipal Police Station against fleeing NPA rebels in the series of encounters in Guihulngan City last week resulted in the arrest of Elod.
According to the Army, Elod told them that he was allegedly tasked by his fleeing comrades to conduct monitoring on the location of the government forces. He was also entrusted with several firearms and ammunition they left.
Military troopers and the police conducted a follow-up operation which led to the recovery of a .357 magnum caliber revolver, two .38 caliber revolvers, and a homemade shotgun.
Elod will be charged with illegal possession of firearms and ammunition.
Brigadier General Inocencio Pasaporte, commander of the 303rd Infantry Brigade (IBde), said the arrest of Elod is another clear manifestation of their strong commitment to rounding up all criminals and terrorist groups escaping from the law.
Meanwhile, the 62nd IB and the local police vowed that they will never stop hunting these NPA rebels to bring peace and development to central Negros.
“We once again call on to the remaining NPA to surrender peacefully, including those wounded personalities to be treated with proper medical attention,” the Army said.
At least 400 residents of Barangay Marcelo and neighboring villages in Calatrava town withdrew their support from the NPA in a condemnation rally held at Barangay Marcelo covered court last Monday.
Residents were holding some placards denouncing the atrocities of the NPA and calling to stop the alleged recruitment of local residents, especially the youth.
They also took their oath of allegiance to the government and burned the replica flags of the NPA.
An information drive was also conducted with lectures and testimonies of former rebels to increase their awareness on insurgency and NPA recruitment and recovery efforts.
The activity was highlighted with the presentation and turnover of five low-powered firearms from former Yunit Militia members, consisting of a .9mm Ingram pistol with 30 live ammunition and two magazines, two .38 caliber revolvers and two .357 caliber revolvers.
As an incentive, they received a cash reward from the local government and sacks of rice from the local police.
For his part, Lieutenant Colonel J-jay Javines, 79th IB commander, lauded the determination of the local officials and the residents.
“The willingness of the residents in condemning the NPA only showed their clamor and earnest desire to live in a place where peace and development prosper,” Javines said.
With their continued support and participation in our campaign against insurgency, we can surely put an end to local armed conflict in order to achieve an insurgency-free and peaceful society, he added.
Javines called on the residents to remain vigilant and report any presence of armed groups to the authorities to stop them from staging more terror in their community.