CATBALOGAN CITY, Philippines – The Philippine Army has transferred the 21st Scout Ranger Company from Davao City’s Paquibato district to Northern Samar under the Joint Task Force Storm.
Troops of the 21st Scout Ranger Company under the 4th Scout Ranger “Masigasig” Battalion are now in the province after its members underwent local and foreign training to enhance their counterinsurgency capability.
Northern Samar is one of the strongholds of the New People’s Army in Eastern Visayas.
Major General Camilo Ligayo, the army chief of Eastern Visayas said on February 19 that the new troops made significant inroads against communist rebels in Paquibato and also joined the four-month-long battle against the ISIS-Maute Group in Marawi City.
In an interview with Rappler, Ligayo gave an optimistic forecast, saying the military could end the insurgency in the region by the close of 2023.
“With the support of the local government units, we are helping the barangays to become conflict resilient,” he said in a mix of English and Filipino.
He called the deployment of the 21st SRC “a game changer”.
He said Army headquarters’ decision to send the elite force is an expression of support for troops on the tri-province island of Samar.
Ligayo described the new arrivals as “keen jungle hunters.” But he also urged the troops to avoid becoming complacent.
Eastern Visayas has five guerrilla fronts, with one already neutralized and four actively operating in Northern Samar, Ligayo said.
Explaining his forecast for the insurgency, the general claimed the 8th Infantry Division “neutralized” 160 New People’s Army (NPA) rebels from 310 barangays in 2022.
He said 26 communist guerrillas were killed, 30 were captured and 104 surrendered, with 1,707 militia members voluntarily surrendered.
The Army seized 297 firearms from the rebels in the same period, with 177 of these high-powered. -Rappler.com
There are no comments yet. Add your comment to start the conversation.