CAMP FELIX APOLINARIO, PANACAN, DAVAO CITY—Another New People’s Army (NPA) commander fell into government hands in Southern Mindanao as authorities arrested a ranking terrorist leader in the village of Zone-1 in Sta. Cruz town in Davao del Sur province 2 pm of June 18, bringing the total number of NPA leaders to fall into government’s hand in this region to five.
Gerald Bate, vice commander of the Sentro de Gravidad of the NPAs local terrorist Front 27 was arrested by the joint elements of the 39th Infantry Battalion (IB) and the Criminal Investigation Group (CIDG) based on information from residents about an armed individual in their locality.
Authorities said Bate was arrested based on the principle of “plain view” as a pistol was seen on his waist as the combined police and soldiers approached. Recovered in his possession were a caliber .45 pistol with the Serial Number 839126, a fragmentation grenade and several ammunition.
Maj. Gen. Carlos Holganza, commander of the Army’s 10th Infantry Division welcomed the capture of another NPA leader as he lauded police and soldiers who made the arrest. “This is a proof that the long arms of the law will eventually catch-up with criminals. Our soldiers and police will continue to work against criminal elements and bring them to justice for the sake of our people who have been victimized by their terroristic acts.” Holganza said.
“Once again, we offer the hand of reconciliation and unity to our lost brothers for them to surrender or face the full force of the law and answer for the crimes they have committed against our people,” Holganza concluded.
The arrest of Bate is the fifth time authorities netted high ranking NPA leaders in Southern Mindanao.
In January, Zaldy Cañete alias Jingoy, a celebrated case of child combatant who was recruited at the age of 13 and who rose steadily and quickly in the ranks of the NPA surrendered after being wounded in a gunbattle with the Army’s 3rd Special Forces Battalion in Talaingod town in Davao del Norte.
Last May 5, Serafin Embate alias Lotlot, commander of Platun Makar of the local terrorist Front-72 and medical officer of Far South Mindanao Region of the NPA was arrested by Davao del Sur Police and soldiers from the 39th IB.
On May 22, Renelo Creita, alias Jaguar, who is responsible in planning and executing the ambush in Maragusan town which claimed the lives of five individuals and wounded a dozen others which was tagged by people as the “Maragusan Massacre” fell in the hands of joint elements of the Army’s 66th Infantry Battalion and CIDG 11
Last June 11, Mario Cabatlao alias Jomar, secretary of local terrorist Front-15 of the NPA was arrested by joint elements of 3rd Special Forces Battalion, Philippine National Police of Madaum and CIDG 11 in Tagum City.
Cpt. Emmanuel R Garcia (INF) PA
Public Affairs Officer, 10th Infantry Division, Philippine Army