High-powered firearm and ammunition seized in Tapaz

By Jennifer P. Rendon

No casualties were reported from either the government forces or the New People’s Army (NPA) in an armed encounter on the morning of March 15 in Tapaz, Capiz.

However, soldiers from the Philippine Army’s 12th Infantry Battalion recovered a high-powered firearm and ammunition.

The 3rd Infantry Division reported that the troops confiscated a 5.56mm M16 assault rifle with a magazine holding ten rounds and some personal belongings following an offensive against suspected NPA insurgents in the hinterland village of San Antonio, Tapaz.

The soldiers engaged with rebels from the NPA’s Central Front of the Komiteng Rehiyon-Panay (KR-Panay), who are believed to be involved in extortion activities in the area. The clash lasted five minutes before the rebels retreated.

The recovery of the firearm is said to diminish KR-Panay’s ability to threaten the locals and hinder government services and development projects in the region.

Major General Marion Sison of the 3rd ID emphasized the crucial collaboration between military forces and the local community in ending the armed conflict and establishing stable internal peace on Panay Island.

Sison expressed his commitment to the goals of EO 70, issued on December 4, 2018, which aims for a whole-of-nation approach to achieving sustainable peace and ending local communist armed conflict.

He urged the remaining KR-Panay members to surrender peacefully.

“Your supplies, ammunition, weapons, and influence over the people are diminishing. The best solution for you is to surrender now to avoid a bitter and senseless end. Value your life and spend your time, and strength with your family who deserves your care and attention. Come, join us, and together let’s work and enjoy the peaceful and progressing Panay.”