ILIGAN CITY ----- An Army soldier of the 4th Mechanized Infantry Battalion was wounded after a 30-minute fire fight with suspected members of the New People’s Army (NPA), high noon on Wednesday (May 27) in Sitio Pudog, Barangay Mainit, here.
Lt. Col. Domingo Dulay, commander of the 4th Mechanized Battalion, said the troops responded after they were tipped off by residents that members of the alleged NPA were extorting foodstuffs and money from the community.
Dulay, who did not disclose the identity of the wounded soldier as of this writing, said he is now in a stable condition in one of the hospitals in Iligan City.
“The wounded soldier is now in stable condition while our troops continue our search and conduct pursuit operation against the fleeing members of the rebels. The troops are confident that some NPA members were also wounded in the clash due to blood stains found in the encounter site,” Dulay said.
Dulay said the rebels might have suffered from lack of food that pushed them to extort from the residents who are also affected by the limited movement caused by COVID19 pandemic.
“The government has repeatedly called on the members of the NPA to avail of the government’s Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) in order for them to come back to the folds of the law and live peacefully,” Dulay added.
The AFP is closely working with the local government of Iligan City and the members of the City Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (CTF-ELCAC) to ensure that services of the government reaches the far-flung barangays like Barangay Mainit and protect the community from NPA influence.
In 2019, the barangay council of Mainit passed a resolution denouncing the presence of the NPA and declaring them persona non grata.
Brigadier General Facundo Palafox IV, Commander of the 2nd Mechanized Infantry Brigade that has operational jurisdiction in Lanao del Norte and Iligan City, said that the AFP will continue to pursue the insurgents wherever they are; and will execute the mandate to protect the people from all forms of threats.
“We call on all members of the NPA to surrender and join the mainstream society. You all have been deceived but the government is willing to help rebuild your lives together with your families,” Palafox said.
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