Army’s 3rd ID predicts ‘total victory’ against insurgency

Brigadier General Marion Sison

By Jennifer P. Rendon

The Philippine Army’s 3rd Infantry Division (3rd ID) has expressed confidence in achieving “total victory” in the ongoing fight against the New People’s Army (NPA) insurgency.

This “optimism” is buoyed by the recent strategic advancements of government forces, particularly the disbandment of the remaining guerilla front in Negros Island.

According to Major General Marion Sison, commander of the 3rd ID, this significant progress has poised Negros Island to be designated as a zone of “Stable Internal Peace and Security” (SIPS), a status that signifies a considerable reduction in local terrorist threats.

The Negros Occidental Joint Peace and Security Coordinating Committee (JPSCC) has approved and signed a resolution recommending the declaration of SIPS status for the province as of March 1, 2024.

The JPSCC is composed of the 302ND and 303RD Infantry Brigades, Negros Occidental PNP, and the Philippine Coast Guard.

Moreover, Sison reported that attempts by the NPA to regain a foothold in the province of Bohol have been thwarted.

This was exemplified by the neutralization of a key group led by a certain Domingo Compoc, alias Silong, on February 23, 2024.

Panay Island has also seen a weakening of NPA fronts, evidenced by successive losses and setbacks which indicate a shift towards stable internal peace for the region.

The 3rd ID, through coordinated operations of its three Infantry Brigades—the 301st, 302nd, and 303rd—has been instrumental in confronting the NPA in the Visayas.

The engagements have resulted in the demise of 16 NPA members, with nine surrendering and one being captured, along with the confiscation of a substantial cache of firearms.

“These series of accomplishments have been an unassailable proof of the success not only of the government forces but also of the people in the Visayas in the fight against insurgency,” Major General Sison stated.

He emphasized that their success is more than just rhetoric but is substantiated by “facts and figures.”

The 3rd ID commander said they would not be stayed by their fabricated stories.

“Instead, we will relentlessly pursue our shared goal of establishing Stable Internal Peace and Security for all Visayans,” he said.

Sison said they anticipate achieving this target sooner than expected, given the support and trust the people have placed in the security forces.

The influx of information reaching the soldiers is evident that the government has the upper hand in the fight against local terrorism.

Further, he also attributed the improving peace and security landscape and success of the government’s campaign against terrorism in the Visayas Region to EO 70 or the Whole-of-Nation Approach in Ending the Local Communist Armed Conflict and the continued implementation of Localized Peace Engagements (LPEs) and Support to Barangay Development Programs (SBDPs).

This mechanism is implemented in full force and has proven effective in liberating conflict-ridden areas from the shackles of insurgency and converting them into more conflict-resilient communities.

“We are winning, and we are committed to sustaining our gains at all costs. With the people on our side, we will undoubtedly achieve total victory against the local terrorist group,” Sison said.

General Romeo Brawner Jr., AFP Chief of Staff, echoed this sentiment during his visit to Visayas Command and the 301st Infantry Brigade.

Brawner has instructed commanders to persist in their efforts, with the aim of decisively defeating the communists by the end of 2024.

“We are very hopeful and optimistic that by the end of the year 2024, we can really achieve total victory and we can defeat the communists,” he said.

Amid these successes, Sison criticized the NPA for their attempts to undermine the legitimacy of the military and police actions through the spread of false accusations.

He assured that the security forces adhere to the highest standards of professionalism, human rights, and international law.