Army battalion formed to quell communist insurgency in Eastern Visayas
TACLOBAN CITY- A new Army battalion was recently created in Eastern Visayas as part of the government’s effort to quell its long-running insurgency problem.
But the 500 soldiers under the newly created 93rd Infantry Battalion had yet to be deployed since they were still undergoing training, said Captain Francis Ragno, chief of the Division Public Affairs Office (DPAO) of the 8th Infantry Division, based in Catbalogan City, Samar.
Of the number, 128 were new graduates while the rest were taken from various units of the 8th ID, he added.
With the creation of the 93rd IB headed by Lt. Col. Hilarion Palma, the 8th ID has now 13 battalions.
Four of these – 19th IB, 46th IB, 34th IB, and 63rd IB – were deployed in Mindanao to help fight terror groups like the Maute group.
Ragno said the new battalion was created and “activated” by Major Gen. Raul Farnacio, commanding officer of the 8th ID on Feb. 5, as part of their campaign to address the Eastern Visayas’ insurgency, particularly on Samar Island.
He told the Inquirer in a phone interview that the target of the 93rd IB was to end the communist insurgency in Eastern Visayas.
Ragno said the soldiers would be deployed in any of the three Samar provinces – Samar, Eastern Samar, and Northern Samar where the New People’s Army are active.
Ragno said that while they were ready to face the rebels, they continued to appeal to them to return to the fold of the law.
About 18 former NPA members surrendered in 2017 and were given financial assistance for them to live a normal life.
He added there were NPA rebels who surrendered in 2018 but he could not give an exact figure as they were still consolidating the data.
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