CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – The Fourth Infantry Division of the Philippine Army reported Tuesday that six rebels were killed during an encounter in the far-flung villages in Bukidnon and Butuan City, between government troops and members of the New People’s Army. (NPA)
Citing reports from the 1st Special Forces Battalion, which is under the operational command of the 403rd Infantry Brigade, government troops engaged with the NPA combatants in the outskirts of Cogoncogon, Barangay Manalog in Malaybalay City, Bukidnon province, around 6:45 am on Monday, September 20.
The firefight, which lasted for several minutes, left five members of the communist party dead after clearing operations made by government forces.
Government forces, the report said, encountered 15 heavily-armed communist rebels under the Headquarters Forces Neo (HQF-NEO), Regional Sentro De Gravidad Compaq (RSDG COMPAQ), and Guerilla Front 89 (GF-89) of the North Central Mindanao Regional Committee (NCMRC).
The casualties on the rebel’s side have not been identified yet, according to military reports yesterday. The dead bodies were abandoned by the retreating forces of the NPA fighters operating in Northern Mindanao areas.
The encounter happened, the military said, due to their focused military operations against the three NPA groups, including the National Operations Command (NOC) of the Communist Party of the Philippines and the 8th Infantry Battalion (8IB).
The military troops cleared the dead bodies and seized 11 high-powered firearms which were left by the group after they scampered to unknown directions during the skirmishes.
The firearms seized by the military include six AK47 rifles, two M16 rifles, and three M653 rifles; as well as a cal-.45 pistol and various war materials.
Meanwhile, on that same day, another firefight also took place in the mountainous areas in Barangay Bugsukan, Butuan City in Agusan del Norte province.
The 15-minute firefight resulted in the death of one NPA combatant only identified as “Jimboy,” a member of the Sandatahang Yunit Pampropaganda 21A (SYP21A), GF21, Sub-Regional Committee (SRC) Westland of the North Eastern Mindanao Regional Committee (NEMRC)
Government forces again seized more high-powered firearms including two M16 rifles with magazines and one M203 40MM Grenade launcher.
“The CTG (Communist Terrorist Group) will never win in this fight. With the PNP (Philippine National Police) making their presence felt in the anti-insurgency campaign, we expect more and more CTG members and leaders to heed our call for peace after the series of setbacks they suffered in the past days in Bukidnon. Voluntary surrender is imminent and choosing to return to the peaceful path to avail the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) would be the better option for the CTG,” said Major General Romeo S. Brawner Jr., commander of the 4ID.
Brawner said in September alone, the no-nonsense patrolling of the military in the hinterland barangays, resulted in 11 encounters with the communist rebels, seizure of 56 high-powered firearms and ammunition, and the killing of NPA fighters.
“We are calling all remnants of the CPP-NPA-NDF or the Communist Terrorist Group particularly in Bukidnon province to stop the senseless fight and save their lives. I am appealing to the CPP-NPA-NDF leaders to give peace a chance,” the 4ID commander said.