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Nolcom mobilizes troops in Cagayan vs NPA rebels

The military’s Northern Luzon Command (Nolcom) yesterday deployed a battalion-sized of Marine troops in Cagayan province as part of the efforts to degrade the capability of the communist New People’s Army (NPA).

Lt. Gen. Emmanuel Salamat, Nolcom commander, led the deployment of the Marine Battalion Landing Team-8 (MBLT-8) in Cagayan to complement the existing Army forces in northern Luzon.
“The deployment of Marines here will complement our existing Army forces…that will ease some of the gaps that we have identified in Northern Luzon. So they will provide additional force to be able to accomplish our target goals,” Salamat said.
“We will exert our best effort to implement the order of the President to degrade the communist NPA terrorists’ capability here,” he also said said.
President Duterte has declared the NPA as a terrorist group after he canceled the peace negotiations with the Communist Party of the Philippines-National Democratic Front (CPP-NDF) due to NPAs continued atrocities last year.
Salamat maintained that the deployment of Marines in northern Luzon is not new and stressed that Marine troops are “adaptive” wherever they are assigned.
He said the Marines were deployed initially in Luzon areas when the command was created in the 1950s.
“The first baptism of fire of the Marines was in Umiray, Quezon…so I don’t think that the Marines will have a hard time with the NPA,” said Salamat, who is a former commandant of the Philippine Marine Corps.
According to Salamat, the Marines were also involved in “secret operations in Nueva Ecija, Aurora, Bataan, Zambales and even in Bulacan.
According to Salamat, he personally requested for the deployment of Marines in Nolcom.
“I see the need just to cover the huge gap with our forces…to advance our peace and development efforts and equally securing major infrastructure and vital installations in Northern Luzon,” said Salamat.
Meanwhile, Salamat said that Nolcom is ready to protect the country’s maritime domain, including the Philippine Rise where China has named undersea features.
“We are privileged to have additional platforms that include air and sea assets to be able to ensure our regular maritime patrol in the Philippine Rise and that is the marching order of the President –to secure our interest and maritime interests, the Philippine Rise as well,” Salamat said.
He said that while Nolcom has jurisdiction over vast maritime areas in the Philippine Rise and the disputed West Philippine Sea, the command is constantly monitoring the territories.
“We have been doing regular maritime patrol…we are monitoring what is happening in our maritime waters, including the Philippine Rise and the Scarborough Shoal. We will continue to perform our mandated task that is to protect our sovereignty,” vowed Salamat.


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