Camp Aquino, Tarlac City, 20 March 2023 – The effective implementation of the government’s whole-of-nation approach to attaining peace and order in the region of the Cordillera resulted in the neutralization of more and more members of the Communist Terrorist Group (CTG) after a series of encounters with the government forces in the province of Kalinga.
The series of encounters is the result of strengthened convergence and cooperation among government agencies, stakeholders, and residents of the said province who are being terrorized by the CTG.
On March 9, 2023, the 50th Infantry Battalion, Philippine Army, conducted security operations at Sitio Babacong, Barangay Gawaan, Balbalan, Kalinga after civilians reported the presence of CTG members, resulting in the death of a commanding officer of the CTG Regional Unit, Central Ilocos-Cordillera Regional Committee, identified as Onal Osias Balao-ing alias Beran, and the recovery of two high powered firearms, subversive documents, and bunkers belonging to the Komiteng Larangang Guerilla-Baggas and the Regional Sentro De Gravidad-Ilocos Cordillera Regional Committee.
A pursuit operation with the 98th Infantry Battalion, Philippine Army, led to a second encounter with the same group at Sitio Lagan, Barangay Gawa-an, Balbalan, Kalinga, on March 15, 2023, that resulted in the neutralization of another CTG member identified as Roy Aggulin Battawang alias Louie the Skwad Lider and IED maker of Squad Uno, Regional Sentro De Gravidad, Ilocos Cordillera Regional Committee. Several firearms, an improvised explosive device, bandoliers, a commercial radio, and cellular phones were also recovered at the encounter site.
Also, another member of the CTG, RSDG, ICRC, identified as Alfonso Balicao Alias Trio of Masay, Balbalan, Kalinga, was arrested by government forces after being served with a warrant of arrest for the crime of murder issued by RTC Branch 25 of the 2nd Judicial Region in Bulanao, Tabuk Kalinga.
Meanwhile, MGEN Fernyl Galera Buca, PAF, Commander of the Northern Luzon Command (NOLCOM), AFP expressed his appreciation to the local residents of Kalinga for their active cooperation in the whole of government approach to ending the communist insurgency.
“This is attributed to the trust and confidence of the local residents in the Armed Forces; the information they are providing our soldiers led to the AFP’s successful security operations. This also demonstrates the residents’ aspirations for a just and lasting peace.” Mgen Buca said.
He also congratulated the government forces who were involved in the successful security operation.
“I commend our soldiers on a successful operation that will lead to the completion of our mission; the increased number of neutralized CTG members in the region reflects NOLCOM’s operational gains in the Cordillera region and the effective implementation of the whole-of-nation approach to ending local communist armed conflict.”
It can be recalled that MGEN Fernyl Galera Buca PAF visited the Headquarters of the 503rd Infantry Brigade, 5ID, PA in Kalinga on March 12, 2023, to manifest the commitment of the command in supporting the soldiers and providing them with the necessary resources to carry out their mission successfully as well as the thrust towards becoming a jointly engaged, Sustainment – Maintained, and Readiness – Trained (SMART) force, protectors of the people of North and Central Luzon.