THE PHILIPPINE Army said information provided by residents in the Surigao del Norte town of Gigaquit led to the arrest of an alleged ranking member of the communist New People’s Army (NPA) in the province.
Lt. Col. Jeffrey Villarosa, commander of the Army’s 30th Infantry Battalion (30IB), said Wednesday the tip-off enabled government forces to intercept suspected NPA officer Joselyn Fortuna Curiba Monday afternoon at a checkpoint in Barangay Sico-Sico, Gigaquit town
Curiba is described by the military as the finance officer of the NPA’s Guerrilla Front 16 (GF-16), which operates mainly in Surigao del Norte and parts of the Agusan provinces.
Villarosa said Curiba was en route to the LASICAM complex in Gigaquit when she was arrested. LASICAM stands for Lahi, Sico-Sico, and Caman-onan — three upland areas known to be flashpoints of rebel activities and declared by the government as Peace and Development Zones (PDZs).
Curiba is the wife of Pablo Logatiman alias “Commander Lukas”, one of the top leaders of the NPA in Surigao del Norte, Villarosa said.
“As Curiba tried to pass through the AFP-PNP checkpoint in Sico-Sico, Gigaquit, she was positively identified by civilian tipsters that caused her arrest,” Villarosa said, referring to the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police.
Authorities confiscated bomb-making materials and other pieces of evidence from Curiba.
Villarosa alleged that Curiba and her husband were involved in various atrocities in the Caraga Region, including the kidnapping and serious illegal detention of an Army personnel and members of Citizens Armed Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU) in Sibagat, Agusan del Sur in 2018.
A warrant of arrest was issued against Curiba by a regional court in Bayugan City, Agusan del Sur, on January 30 this year.
“I commend the people in the community for their vigilance and cooperation that led to the apprehension of Joselyn Curiba. Your AFP and PNP will continue to jointly operate so that we can better rid our communities with the misguided CNTs (Communist New People’s Army Terrorists),” Villarosa said.
He also urged the remaining NPA combatants in the province to surrender and avail of government assistance for rebel returnees under the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program. (By Alexander Lopez
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