THE Army’s 901st Brigade has been redeployed from the Bicol region to the eastern part of Mindanao as part of the military’s continuing effort to defeat the communist New People’s Army.
The brigade arrived at the headquarters of the 4th Infantry Division in Camp Evangelista in Cagayan de Oro City on Thursday last week.
Maj. Gen. Ronald Villanueva, 4th ID commander, said the redeployed unit is composed of 80 men led by the brigade’s commander, Col. Larry Mojica. Villanueva said the brigade is now operating in the Bukidnon, North Cotabato, and Davao areas.
He said the 19th and 92nd Infantry Battalions, which came from the Central Mindanao, have been attached to the brigade. Another battalion, the 88th IB, will soon be placed under the brigade.
“It’s meant to cover the area where we have a blind spot,” said Villanueva on the redeployment of the 901st brigade. He said the brigade will help accomplish the military’s objective to crush the NPA.
Maj. Ezra Balagtey, spokesman of the AFP’s Eastern Mindanao Command, expressed confidence that the redeployment of the brigade will lead to the restoration of peace in the areas.
“The 901st Brigade will augment troops in Northern Mindanao and Caraga Regions to help 4th ID in crushing NPA terrorists. Further, the brigade will be deployed in the priority areas of 4th ID,” added Balagtey.
“They will help in the accomplishment of the objective given by higher headquarters, we are sticking with that. (The objective) is to crush the NPA,” said Balagtey.
President Duterte terminated peace negotiations with the communist-led National Democratic Front in November last year due to series of rebel attacks against military and civilian targets.
Also yesterday, the 56th IB arrived in Mindanao to augment the 10th Infantry Division, based in Compostela Valley, in the fight against the communists. The battalion used to operate in Aurora province.
“They will be operating in the 10th ID area, they are going to be additional force against the NPA,” said Balagtey of the 56th IB. A battalion is composed of around 500 officers and men.
EX-NPAs MEET WITH DUTERTE
President Duterte is due to have snacks today in Malacañang with 241 former NPA members. They are part of the 683 NPA members who surrendered to the Armed Forces in Eastern Mindanao last year.
Balagtey said the 241 former rebels are composed of 38 women and 203 men who used to operate in the Compostela Valley and Davao del Norte. They were flown to Manila yesterday morning from Davao City, and toured by the military to Luneta Park and Fort Santiago in Manila.
On February 7, Duterte also had snacks with the first batch of 217 former rebels.
Balagtey said the third batch, composed of 225 former rebels, will also dine with Duterte and given the same tour but no date has been set.