Barely three months after its activation, the newly created 9th Infantry(Orgullo) Brigade (separate) of the Philippine Army (PA), has gained the upper hand in the government's drive against the New People’s Army (NPA) rebels in Bicol.
Brig. Gen. Santiago Prejido, 9th Infantry Brigade commander, disclosed during the joint meeting of the Regional Development Council (RDC) and the Regional Peace and Order Council (RPOC), that the brigade aggressively conducted more than 6,000 combat operations during the last quarter of 2002 resulting in 30 encounters with the communist terrorists group with 12 NPA rebels killed and 29 high-powered firearms recovered.
Prejido said the 9th Infantry Brigade was created by virtue of an order of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo middle of last year to deploy additional troops to Bicol to eradicate the growing insurgency problem in the region.
He said the brigade is composed of two maneuver brigades, the 901st Infantry Brigade covering the the province of Albay, Sorsogon and Masbate commanded by Col. Pedrito Magsino and the 902nd Infantry Brigade operating in the provinces of Camarines Sur, Camarines Norte and the island province of Catanduanes which is headed by Col. Jack Cordero.
Prejido said intelligence reports gathered disclosed the plan of the communist terrorists to conduct at least two tactical offensives in every front in Bicol. "This plan of the NPA was blunted after the 9th Infantry Brigade conducted small unit operations jointly with the Philippine National Police (PNP) in the six provinces of Bicol as countermeasures."
"We are gaining in the anti-npa campaign and we are seeing more cooperation from the people," Prejido said.