MANILA — Additional units are being brought to reinforce the Davao City-based Eastern Mindanao Command (EastMinCom) in line with efforts to neutralize New People’s Army (NPA) bands known to be operating in the region.
This was emphasized by command spokesperson Major Ezra Balagtey in an interview late Tuesday.
In line with this, the EastMinCom has absorbed the 15th Infantry Battalion which had just finished a tour-of-duty in Western Mindanao.
Initially, the 15th Infantry Battalion is from the Jamindan-based 3rd Infantry Division but was deployed to help in security operations in Basilan before being deployed to Marawi City during the height of the clashes with Maute Group terrorists.
The former was replaced by the 2nd Scout Ranger Battalion following the liberation of Marawi City, Balagtey said.
Aside from the above-mentioned unit, the military official said two battalions, the 88th and 89th, have been recently activated, following the recruitment of additional troops.
He added that they are expecting more troops to arrive as announced by Armed Forces Chief-of-Staff Gen. Rey Leonardo Guerrero.
Balagtey also noted that half of the NPA forces operating in Mindanao are to be found at the EMC area.
“Kasi parang ito ang last frontier ng NPA, (ang) Eastern Mindanao, and more than 50 percent of NPA (in) Mindanao-wide is nasa EastMinCom,” he pointed out.
Latest information indicated that less than 1,800 NPAs are operating in the EastMinCom area.