Philippine government security forces recently scored major gains against various terrorist elements, highlighting the effectiveness of the whole-of-nation and whole-of-government approach in the internal security operations of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and Philippine National Police (PNP).

On May 25, 2023, operating elements from the AFP and PNP apprehended Saidamen Baratumo, alias Commander Lomala, and key communist terrorist group (CTG) personality Allysa Joy A Aldojesa, alias Maui/Sol/Dylan/Wang. Baratumo is the primary suspect in the ambush of Lanao del Sur Governor Mamintal Adiong Jr on February 17, 2023, in Maguing, Lanao del Sur, while Aldojesa is the Secretary of Sub-Regional Committee 5 (SRC5), North Central Mindanao Regional Committee (NCMRC).

“I congratulate our troops from the AFP and PNP for their effective joint operations in pursuit of lawless elements, pursuant to the President’s resolute directive to uphold public peace and order in Mindanao,” Department of National Defense (DND) Officer-in-Charge (OIC) Senior Undersecretary Carlito G. Galvez, Jr. said.

Following these high-level arrests, combined AFP and PNP elements captured four (4) members of the Daulah Islamiyah-Lanao (DI-Lanao) under Juhari Sandab, alias “Abu Morsid,” and confiscated five (5) high powered firearms at Brgy. Pabrika, Marugong, Lanao del Sur, with the help of information provided by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

“The successful operation was made possible because of the critical information provided by the MILF regarding the presence of unidentified armed men,” said Galvez. “Government security forces continue to be vigilant against recruitment for local terrorist groups (LTGs) particularly in the Lanao Provinces where the DI once flourished during the Marawi campaign.”

“The operation, however, positively highlighted the cooperation and collaboration of the AFP and the MILF against the LTGs,” explained the defense chief. “This is a manifestation that the peace process with the MILF is really working and a very tangible instance where the leadership of the Bangsamoro is sincere in their commitment to attain peace in Mindanao through close collaboration with the government security and law enforcement units.”

Earlier on Wednesday, May 24, 2023, joint AFP and PNP operating elements in San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan apprehended in Rosita Solayao Taboy, alias Laling/Ibay/Azun/Zuserre, who is the Staff of the National Finance Commission of the CTG and former Head of Regional Organizational Department (ROD)-Eastern Visayas Regional Party Committee (EVRPC), through three (3) warrants of arrest.

“Also arrested was her party husband, alias Beto/Adonis, who is a demolition expert with the National Command of the CPP-NPA-NDF,” added Galvez.

These significant developments are crucial to the government’s overall campaign to assert the country’s internal security and stability. The OIC, DND reiterated the AFP’s commitment to the campaign against the LTGs and CTGs.

“Supported by our government agencies such as the DILG, LGUs, PNP, the Filipino people, and with the leadership of our President and Commander-in-Chief Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr., the AFP will sustain the momentum to finally end the armed conflicts in the country, which have hampered the development of our communities for decades,” said Galvez. “This will eventually pave the way for us to focus now on enhancing further our territorial defense capabilities.”

In addition to the arrests, the AFP and PNP also conducted several successful operations against terrorist camps and training facilities. These operations resulted in the neutralization of several terrorists and the confiscation of a large cache of weapons and explosives.

The government’s success in these operations is a testament to the effectiveness of the whole-of-nation and whole-of-government approach to internal security. This approach, which involves the cooperation of all levels of government, the military, the police, and the civilian population, is essential to defeating terrorism and achieving lasting peace and security in the Philippines.