Batallion of Scout Rangers arrive in Samar to bolster anti-insurgency drive
TACLOBAN CITY — A battalion of Scout Rangers arrived in Samar on Sunday, December 11, to further boost the campaign of the government to end the insurgency problem in Eastern Visayas.
The elite force of the Philippine Army arrived at the port of Calbayog City and will be deployed to Northern Samar where four communist fronts are active.
“They are here for a peace and development mission. You can say that it’s part of our mission to end the insurgency (in Eastern Visayas),” Capt. Jefferson Mariano, the spokesperson of the 8th Infantry Division, said in a phone interview.
With their vast experience in warfare against communist and terror groups, he said the Scout Rangers will be a big help to finally quell the insurgency problem in the region, notably in Northern Samar.
The soldiers were from Caraga where they significantly helped the insurgency problem in that region.
The same group, headed by Lt. Col. Ricarte Detayata, was also part of the five-month battle against the terrorist group of ISIS-Maute group that led to the liberation of Marawi City in 2017 and in the fight against the Mamasapano incident in Mindanao.
Prior to their deployment in Eastern Visayas, the soldiers underwent a battalion retraining in Australia to further enhance their capability in air to ground combat operations and small unit operations.
READ: 29 suspected NPA members surrender in Sarangani, says PNP
Major General Camilo Ligayo, the commanding officer of the 8th Infantry Division, has expressed his gratitude for the additional forces and equipment from their higher ups.
“I am indeed grateful to the higher headquarters for sending one of the finest battalions from our elite force to augment our forces here in Eastern Visayas. Your expertise in combat tested by time will surely contribute to the division’s campaign against decades-long insurgency,” Ligayo said.
The presence of communist rebels in the region, notably on Samar Island, has been cited as one of the reasons why development continues to elude the region of more than 4 million people.
Last December 8, at least eight members of the New People’s Army (NPA) surrendered to the military in Lope de Vega town, Northern Samar.
Of the eight former rebels, six of them were regular members of the Front Committee-2 and sub-regional guerilla unit, sub-regional committee Emporium of the Eastern Visayas Regional Party Committee while the two others were members of the white area committee-Northern Samar.
The former rebels surrendered to the 43rd Infantry Battalion based in Lope de Vega which is under the command of Lt. Col. Manuel Degay, Jr.
READ: Alleged ex-NPA member yields 18 firearms to Army officials in Samar
They also gave up their firearms, including a caliber 5.56 M16 A1 rifle; one Cal 5.56 M653 rifle; one (1) Cal. 45 pistol; 3 Cal.38 pistols; and two rifle grenades.
Degay, in a statement, said the former rebels decided to return to the folds of the law due to the failure of their leaders to sustain the needs of their families as promised to them.
Also, the military official said the “diminished support” from the people they considered as part of the mass base fueled their decision to give up their arm struggle.
Degay encouraged other communist rebels to surrender and avail the programs being implemented by the government against rebel returnees.
Col. Perfecto Peñaredondo, the commanding officer of the 803rd Infantry Brigade based at the provincial capital of Catarman, vowed to help the former rebels to get the benefits they are entitled to receive after giving up their insurgency fight against the government.
The military has vowed to quell the communist armed group in the region by early quarter of next year.
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