Civilian tip-off leads troops to NPA supply stash

A tip from a resident in the Surigao del Sur town of San Miguel led Army troops to a supply stash belonging to the New People’s Army (NPA), an official said Monday.

Soldiers belonging to the Army’s 36th Infantry Battalion discovered the supply in Barangay Siagao on Sunday afternoon, said Capt. Francisco Garello Jr., 36IB civil-military operations officer.

Garello said the stash consisted of bomb-making materials, communications equipment, documents, and various types of ammunition.

He said the troops found the supply cache buried on a cave after a villager informed the military of its location.

Lt. Col. Xerxes Trinidad, 36IB commander, said NPA combatants in the area commonly entrust their supplies to a supporter “purposely to ease some loads” while conducting raids/harassments, or to avoid pursuing Army troops.”

Trinidad said the capture of “these materials sends a message” to the rebels “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, 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,” the Army official said.

He also called on the remaining NPA rebels to “lay down their arms, avail the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) and finally join their families during this Christmas season.”