Davao Oriental

Soldiers dig out arms cache in Davao Oriental after ‘insurgency-free’ declaration

Ferdinand Zuasola
Soldiers dig out arms cache in Davao Oriental after ‘insurgency-free’ declaration

Alejandro Edoria/Rappler

The arms cache was found in Governor Generoso town, nearly two weeks after clashes that saw five rebels killed in the towns of Banaybanay and Lupon in Davao Oriental

DAVAO ORIENTAL, Philippines – Soldiers on Tuesday, September 27, dug out a cache of high-powered firearms buried by fleeing New People’s Army (NPA) rebels in a hinterland village in Davao Oriental, days after the local peace and order council declared the province “insurgency-free.”

Captain Maximo Trinidad, the spokesperson of the Army’s 48th Infantry Battalion, said the firearms include an M16 rifle, M203 grenade launcher, and R4, M4, and US-made carbines. Found in a box with these were bandoliers and a raincoat.

Trinidad said the buried firearms were located with the help of two rebels – Rodel Mandel and Arnel Villanueva – who surrendered to the military. 

The surrenders, he said, belonged to an NPA group that once operated in the mountain range of gold-rich Mount Diwata, covering areas in Davao Oriental and Davao de Oro.

Trinidad said the arms cache was found in the village of Magdug, Governor Generoso town in Davao Oriental, nearly two weeks after clashes that saw five NPA rebels killed in the towns of Banaybanay and Lupon.

It was in Banaybanay where soldiers captured on September 18 an alleged political officer of the NPA in Davao Oriental identified as 25-year-old Angelie Fortich a.k.a Ka Amihan.

Fortich, the military said, is a Chemical Engineering graduate of the state-run University of the Philippines in Diliman.

Trinidad said Fortich, who was charged with murder, was asking villagers for food when soldiers chanced on her.

Fortich was the third alleged female NPA rebel captured by government troops in Davao Oriental since July.

Davao Oriental’s Peace and Order Council (PPOC) declared the entire province “insurgency-free” last week based on military claims that government forces drove away the last remaining rebels in the province, and that they supposedly crushed all three NPA guerrilla fronts operating in the province since 2021.

Brigadier General Oliver Maquiling, the commander of the Army’s 701st Brigade, said Davao Oriental was the last of the Davao region’s provinces to be declared “insurgency-free.” – Rappler.com

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