NPA ranking officer nabbed in Nueva Ecija

BALER, Aurora –Joint elements of the Philippine Army’s 703rd Infantry (Agila) Brigade, 56th Infantry “Tatag” Battalion and Nueva Ecija police arrested on Wednesday a ranking officer of the New People’s Army (NPA) in Barangay General Luna, Carranglan, Nueva Ecija.

Lt. Col. Louie DS. Villanueva, Tatag battalion commander based in Barangay Calabuanan, in this town, identified the arrested ranking communist rebel as Ramil Tucay, also known as Ka Isaac/Moses, secretary of NPA Guerrilla Front Platun Nueva Ecija – Nueva Vizcaya – Eastern Pangasinan.

Villanueva said Tucay was apprehended while the military and police troops were conducting intel-driven combat operation following a report of the locals who were tired of the NPA’s extortion activities.

He said Tucay was initially brought to the municipal police station of Carranglan, Nueva Ecija and was later turned over to the Nueva Ecija Provincial Public Safety Company.

Report handed to Philippine News Agency (PNA) showed that the troops seized one caliber 9mm with live ammunitions, one laptop with complete accessories, two hand grenades, one improvised explosive device (IED), two cellular phones, 23 USBs, 23 memory cards, 16 sim cards, two cellular phone chargers, one transistor radio, three pieces of AA battery, two civilian packs, eyeglasses, a power bank, flashlight, subersive documents with high intelligence value and other personnal belongings.

Tucay has a standing warrant of arrest for homicide issued in 2011, manifesting his involvement in different atrocities and criminal activities in the said areas , which is also under the 56th IB.

Villanueva is grateful to the people in the area who are very active in reporting the presence of NPAs.

“It is always our business to do military operations and we are very thankful to the people who reported to us for the immediate arrest of Tucay early this morning,” Villanueva said, pointing out that the Philippine Army will not allow the NPA guerillas to continue their attrocities, lies and deceptions to the public, more so in sowing fear and terror to the community.

Relative to this, Major General Angelito M. De Leon, commanding general of 7th Infantry “Kaugnay” division based in Fort Magsaysay, Palayan City said that there are now less than 200 NPA armed regulars in Central Luzon amid the wave of surrenders by rebels and losses in tactical offensives waged by the military.

He said rebels have been severely crippled due to the series of operations by government troops in Regions 1,2 and 3 and the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) that are under the jurisdiction of the 7th ID.

“The insurgency problem is now manageable with the conduct of our counter-insurgency (COIN) operations and the surrender of armed rebels over the past months,” he said.

Because of the government’s success in the COIN campaign, Bataan province has been declared insurgency-free last September while all provinces under the 7th ID, except Abra province, have been cleared of NPA presence.

In addition, De Leon said the Ilocos Region, parts of Central Luzon and the CAR as well as two municipalities of Mountain Province have already been declared as peaceful and ready for development.

“By peaceful and ready for development, what we mean is it will undergo the normalization process,” he explained.

In 2016 alone, De Leon said there were 24 NPA rebels and 47 members of the Marxista Leninista Partido ng Pilipinas/Rebolusyong Hukbong Bayan (MLPP/RHB) who surrendered to authorities while two of them were killed and one arrested in three major tactical encounters.

The government troops also recovered 29 firearms, he added.

“But beyond these encounters, we continue to convince our brothers in the mountains to return to the folds of the law,” he added.