Army’s 3rd ID highlights counter-insurgency feats

Negros Occidental Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson (3rd from left), Regional Peace and Order Council chair, and Major General Marion Sison (4th from left), 3rd ID commander, lead the 4th Quarter Meeting of the council on Dec. 12 at the Iloilo City Hall’s Penthouse. (3ID photo)

By Jennifer P. Rendon

For the Philippine Army’s 3rd Infantry (Spearhead) Division, 2024 was a “triumphant” year in the anti-insurgency campaign.

The military claimed that the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) was left on the defense amid blows thrown by Army soldiers.

Major General Marion Sison, 3rd ID commander, said that the military conducted 71 government-initiated encounters from January 2023 to date.

These armed clashes resulted in the neutralization of 102 local persons, including nine high-value individuals, six key leaders, and eight finance officers of the CPP-NPA.

By neutralization, these persons were either killed during encounters or captured or surrendered.

Also, 142 assorted firearms were seized during these clashes.

Sison presented the statistics during the 4th Quarter Meeting of the Regional Peace and Order Council (RPOC) 6 on Dec. 12 at the Iloilo City Hall’s Penthouse.

“We gave the NPAs no room to conduct offensives. These are government-initiated operations drawn to cripple their operations all over the region,” Sison said.

Addressing the RPOC attendees, Sison talked about the various demands of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), including the release of their leaders and the suspension of the Local Peace Engagement, which, according to them, will help advance the peace negotiations.

But the 3rd ID chief clarified that these demands were part of the propaganda of the CPP-NPA-NDF, for they are now in their “huling hikbi” (last sob).

“We will continue our focused military operations and support for NTF-ELCAC (National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict), extending from the regional to the provincial, municipal, and barangay levels, along with our commitment to Local Peace Engagement. We remain steadfast in our campaign against insurgency, particularly considering that only one guerrilla front remains in Negros,” he said.

Hopefully, by the end of this year, Sison said it will be officially declared dismantled. By the 1st quarter of 2024, he said the 3rd ID aims to recommend the declaration of the entire Negros Island as insurgency-free.

The 3ID commander expressed his gratitude to all the members of RPOC 6 for their support extended to the Army’s effort to end the local communist armed conflict in the region.

Meanwhile, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) 6 has tackled the update of the Barangay Drug Clearing Program (BDCP) while the Police Regional Office (PRO) 6 discussed the peace and order situation of Western Visayas.

Negros Occidental Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson, RPOC-6 chairperson, commended the efforts of the Regional Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (RTF-ELCAC) 6, the PNP, the Philippine Army, the Philippine Coast Guard, and the Bureau of Fire Protection for the successful conduct of Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections (BSKE) 2023, especially in preventing the ‘permit to campaign’ strategy of the Communist Terrorist Group.

Aside from Lacson and Sison, the RPOC-6 meeting also saw the presence of representatives from PRO-6, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) 6, the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA) 6 and RTF-ELCAC.

Representatives from local government units and regional agencies in Western Visayas were also in attendance and so were heads and representatives of other local government units and regional agencies in the region.