The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) reported that it had neutralized a total of 123 local terrorists and insurgents and captured 136 assorted weapons during a series of focused military and law enforcement operations in various parts of the country in February 2023.
AFP public affairs office chief Col. Jorry Baclor said in a statement late Sunday.
“On operations against the local terrorist groups (LTG), four LTG members were killed, and 41 either surrendered or were apprehended. In addition, the AFP gained 42 firearms and four anti-personnel mines and discovered ten encampments,”
In Patikul, Sulu, an Abu Sayyaf bandit was killed in an encounter with the 111th Division Reconnaissance Company and 32nd Infantry Battalion on Feb. 20. Troops recovered one M-14 rifle during the clearing operation.
Likewise, three Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) members were killed, including a field commander of the BIFF-Karialan faction, following an encounter with government forces in Tacurong City, Sultan Kudarat on Feb. 18.
On Feb. 21 29 BIFF members surrendered through the efforts of the 1st Brigade Combat Team based in Sultan Kudarat.
The surrenderers turned in assorted firearms and ammunition to the government troops.
Meanwhile, the AFP said it has neutralized 78 New People’s Army (NPA) in the same month — 16 of whom were killed while 62 surrendered.
Troops also recovered 94 firearms.
Col. Jorry Baclor also said,
“On February 24, one CNT (Communist NPA Terrorist) surrendered to the 5th Special Forces Battalion in Palimbang, Sultan Kudarat yielding a Winchester M-1 Garand and one improvised M-79 grenade launcher.
On February 26, an NPA officer using the alias ‘Danay’ and his follower ‘Hardan’ surrendered with one homemade shotgun to the Army’s 68th Infantry Battalion in San Jose, Occidental Mindoro,”
AFP units also discovered and seized 27 anti-personnel mines (APMs) during the period, the most recent of which was the eight APMs by the 49th Infantry Battalion in Oas, Albay on Feb. 25.
Baclor also stated,
“The CTGs and LTGs continue to suffer huge losses as the AFP intensifies its intelligence-driven focused military operation complemented by various community support initiatives that address the root causes of insurgency and violent extremism.”
PH-US warfighting function exchange 2023
As this developed, the Philippine Army (PA) announced that the 7th Infantry Division and 5th Security Force Assistance Brigade (5SFAB), United States Army concluded the Philippines-United States Warfighting Functions Exchange 2023-1 (WFE 23-1) on March 3.
In a statement on Sunday, PA spokesperson Col. Xerxes Trinidad said,
“The two-week training which took place at Fort Magsaysay, Nueva Ecija developed the competencies of both forces across the warfighting functions domain focusing on air assault operations, troop leading procedure, group organization, defensive operations, and engagement area development.”
“All training participants belonged to the 71st Division Reconnaissance Company; Alpha Company, 99th Infantry Battalion; 1st Brigade Combat Team; and Alpha Company, 103rd Infantry Battalion, 5th Infantry Division.”
He added that the activity serves as the Sustained Warfighting Enhancement and Evaluation Program (SWEEP) of the participating units and also as a gated training for the upcoming PH-US combined exercises.
Sources THX News & The Philippines News Agency.