• GILBERT P. BAYORAN
Colonel Michael Samson, newly-installed acting commander of the Army’s 303rd Infantry Brigade, yesterday vowed to make the life of remaining New People’s Army combatants in Negros Occidental “miserable” through relentless and intensified focused military operations, should they insist of pursuing the armed struggle, through “terror and violent means.”
The warning was made by Samson, as he offered anew peace and reconciliation to the NPA remnants in Negros, in line with the call for “unity” of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.
Let’s stop this senseless armed struggle, Samson said, he called on the NPA in the mountains to take advantage of the government reconciliation program before it is too late.
Samson yesterday replaced Pasaporte, who is retiring today from the military service, as 303rd Infantry Brigade commander. He and Pasaporte are both members of the Philippine Military Academy Class of 1991.
For those who will insist to continue fighting against the government and pursue the armed struggle through terror and other violent means, you leave us no alternative but to respond by military action, Samson, who is a Negrense, said.
To prevent the spread of CTG (Communist Terrorist Group) influence in our area of responsibility, we intend to dismantle the remaining NPA guerilla fronts and destroy its armed component, Samson, who served as deputy commander of 303rd Infantry Brigade for more than three years, said.
During the stint of Gen. Pasaporte as commander of the 303IB from December 6, 2019 to Dec. 28 this year, the military reported that it has neutralized 53 rebels and their top officials, including Romeo Nanta, regional commander of the NPA in Negros Island, and Ericson Acosta, deputy secretary of the Komiteng Rehiyonal Negros/Cebu/Bohol/ Siquijor, among other numerous leaders who died in gun battles, the recovery of 46 high powered and 105 low powered guns, 19 anti-personnel and anti-tank mines, captured and apprehended 52 others, arrested 13 rebel personalities, while 110 others surrendered.
The 303rd Infantry Brigade supervises three Army battalions in Negros Occidental, composed of 79th Infantry Battalion in northern Negros, 62nd and 94th Infantry Battalions in central Negros.
To mimic what the (Scout) Rangers promised to their enemies, Samson said “we will make your worst nightmare comes true.”
Maj. Gen. Benedict Arevalo, 3rd Infantry Division commander and concurrent acting commander of the AFP Visayas Command, reminded Samson of the 3ID mantra, which is “Loved by the people, feared by the enemy.”
Arevalo praised Pasaporte for the accomplishments made by the 303IB in the past several months, which he described the military outfit as one of the best “infantry brigades” in the entire Visayas.
Pasaporte was awarded yesterday with Distinguished Service Star medal, in recognition of his effort in the maintenance of peace and order in Negros Island.
Arevalo said “we just have to do everything as fast as we can,” apparently referring to the dismantling of remaining guerilla fronts in Negros Island.
The 3ID reported that it has already dismantled the Northern Negros and South East Fronts, although it acknowledged an ongoing attempt of the rebel remnants to recover lost territories and consolidation of forces.
Arevalo described the leadership of KR- NCBS in “disarray,” following deaths of several of their top leaders, continued weakening of the remaining guerilla fronts due to their losses in gun battles and surrender of their armed combatants and supporters.
With the support of the people, we are assured of winning the campaign, he said, as he also recognized the vital role of Task Force ELCAC (Ending Local Communist Armed Conflict) from the regional down to the barangay level, in addressing the root causes of insurgency problem.*