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NPA's second highest ranking commander falls in Bukidnon clash

January 25, 2022 - Tuesday 4:01 PM by Aira Miranda

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LtGen. Greg T. Almerol, Commander of Eastern Mindanao Command (EastMinCom), describes the New People's Army (NPA) in Mindanao as "running like a headless monster" following the death of Pedro Codaste alias Gonyong/Serv, the NPA's second highest ranking commander in Mindanao, at the hands of combined military units on Jan. 21 in Brgy. Kalabugao, Impasugong, Bukidnon
 
In response to credible information from concerned citizens about the presence of an armed group, and in response to EastMinCom's directive to intensify military offensives against the Communist Terrorist Group (CTG), combined forces of the 4th Infantry Division's (4ID) 402nd Brigade, 16th Infantry Battalion, Philippine National Police's (PNP) Special Action Force (SAF), and intelligence units launched an operation in the said area.
 
Troops were involved in a 30-minute gunfight with an estimated 15 fully equipped CTG, which resulted in the death of Codaste and an alias Zandro.
 
Additionally, they recovered two firearms at the encounter location, including an AK47 Rifle, a Caliber.45 Pistol, an Anti-Personnel Mine (APM), three backpacks containing personal things, and subversive materials.
 
Codaste was regarded to be the Acting Chairman of the NPA's Komisyun Mindanao (KOMMID) following the assassinations of Antonio Cabanatan, Jorge Madlos, and Menandro Villanueva.
 
He was also a member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), a consultant for the National Democratic Front (NDF), the Deputy Secretary of KOMMID, and the former Secretary of Guerilla Front 4A (GF4A) in Agusan del Sur in the early 1990s. He later became the Secretary of the North Central Mindanao Regional Committee in 2009.
 
Codaste's death, according to LtGen. Almerol, brings justice to the victims of his atrocities in Mindanao. He was wanted on several counts of murder, attempted murder, and double frustrated murder by the Regional Trial Court, 10th Judicial Region of Malaybalay City, Bukidnon, since August 2018.
 
The EastMinCom Commander concluded that, similar to what occurred following the deaths of Ka Oris and Ka Bok, two of the most senior NPA leaders in Mindanao, more NPA personalities will surrender to the troops as they are unable of surviving under the leadership of novice leaders.
 
“We are seeing a snowball of surrender in the coming days with the successful neutralization of another CTG head. This is possible as the operational balance of the CTG continues to crumble while the morale of their followers depletes after a series of engagements with our troops," he said.
 
Meanwhile, LtGen. Almerol reaffirmed his appeal to the surviving CTG members to surrender quietly rather than following their deceased leaders' lead.
 
“May you follow the steps of your former comrades who are now living a peaceful and comfortable life under the care of the government as beneficiaries of the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP). All you need to do is make that decisive action to peacefully surrender and we will ensure your safety and protection,” LtGen. Almerol said.
 
“We abhor the idea of bloodshed and we do not want to see another rebel dying for the sake of a failed ideology. Surrender now instead of wasting your lives,” he added.
 
LtGen. Almerol also commended residents for their proactive sharing of information with the military “which has been instrumental in the success of its operations in Eastern Mindanao.”
 
He also praised the troops of 4ID, PNP, and intel units for the “successful neutralization of another most wanted NPA leader in Eastern Mindanao.”
 
“Your exemplary job is a true source of inspiration for all Filipino people who strive to make the country better in pursuit of peace and development. Keep up the good work!” the EastMinCom Commander said.

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