BY: LT COL EDGARD A AREVALO PN(M)
Director, Naval Public Affairs Office
Combined operating troops of MBLT-1 headed by LTC FERNANDO R GOMEZ PN(M)(GSC) under the 1st Marine Brigade under the command of BGEN RUSTICO GUERRERO AFP, and SAF Battalion of the PNP under P/Supt Nestor Salcedo arrested kidnap suspect Melvin Akalon@ Otoh Akalon-- a rouge former MILF Group member-- in an early morning raid of 11 August 2009, Tuesday in Brgy Libug, Sumisip, Basilan Province.
Suspect Akalon, a former MILF member under MILF Comdr Amil Mingkong, was with the group of rouge MILF Group sub-cmdr Abygao Bayali during the captivty of micro-financing worker Lea Laping Patris in the hinterlands of Brgy Baiwas, Sumisip Municipality. Lea Patris was recovered by MBLT-1 operatives and CVOs/municipal guards in June 7.
Akalon is also one of the suspects in the ambush of PNP personnel in Brgy Libug, Sumisip, Basilan Province in June 28. He admitted to have been involved in several encounters with CAA members in Baiwas in 2004 while he was still an active member of the MILF under said Amil Mingkong and one Bugao Bayali.
These unrelenting combat operations to rid the province of Basilan of terrorist Abu Sayyaf Group, rouge MILF members, and other criminal elements will continue amidst humanitarian and development projects that the Navy is employing. The Navy leadership under VADM Ferdinand S Golez, the Flag Officer in Command and MGEN Juancho Sabban, the Marine Corps Commandant pursues a more vigorous peaceful and confidence-building initiatives on the one hand and less of combat operations on the other. The Navy adopts a paradigm shift of holistic approach as it bats for attainment of lasting peace and development in southern Philippines.