DAVAO CITY, 29 (PIA) The military continues to make a headway in its anti-insurgency campaign with the number of barangays cleared from rebel influence and number of rebels neutralized during the first quarter of 2015.
Lt. General Aurelio Baladad, commander of the Eastern Mindanao Command told the AFP-PNP Press Corps that less than half of the forces of the communist rebels nationwide are situated in its area of jurisdiction.
He said 44 percent of the rebel manpower, 48 percent of the firearms, 46 percent of the affected barangays, and 46 percent of the guerrilla fronts are located in Eastern Mindanao.
“Eastern Mindanao remains to be a hotbed of communist insurgency,” Baladad said.
He noted a decline in the number of rebel forces from the third and fourth quarter of 2014 at 1,996 to 1,990, respectively to 1,886 in the first quarter of 2015.
Baladad also reported a 2.4 percent drop in the number of firearms recovered by government at 2,335 in the last quarter of 2014 to 2,300 in the first quarter of 2015.
He also noticed a decline in the number of influenced barangays from 514 in the last quarter of 2014 to 496 in the first quarter of 2015, a downtrend at seven percent.
“A further drop in the influenced barangays will mean better conditions in the hinterland areas,” Baladad said.
He also reported the drop in the number of guerrilla fronts, a political unit of the rebels from one GF last year to two GFs this year. Baladad said three GFs have been downgraded to section committees due to the efforts of the Armed Forces.
He said that a total of 102 rebels were neutralized by the government forces, among them 28 killed, 26 arrested, and 48 surrendered.