By Mike U. Crismundo
Camp Bancasi, Butuan City — Combat maneuvering troops of the Army’s 36th Infantry Battalion (36th IB) seized bomb-making devices/materials, explosives, landmines, assorted live ammunitions and medical kits during a gun battle with communist insurgents in sitio Himat-e, Barangay Cayale, Tago, Surigao del Sur.
Initial report received here said some members of 36th IB are still conducting clearing and mopping up operations in the encounter site while a platoon-size combat maneuvering troops of the same unit are conducting hot pursuit operations against the fleeing New People’s Army (NPA) rebels, the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).
Elements of 36th IB under the command of Lt. Col. Randolph I. Rojas were conducting village security and peace and development program in Barangay Cayale and neighboring areas when they engaged some 30 heavily armed NPA rebels at 4:55 p.m. on Sunday, a field report said.
The rebels were believed to be members of the guerilla-Front Committee 30 of the CPP-NPA Northeastern Mindanao Regional Committee (NEMRC) under a certain “Commander Niko,” Civil Military Operations Officer Capt. Francisco Garello, Jr. said.
He said the rebels disengaged themselves from the fierce gun battle which lasted up to 30 minutes.
Operating troops also seized in the encounter site blasting caps, detonating cords, batteries, ICOM radio, assorted live ammunitions, and backpacks containing the rebels’ personal belongings, the CMO officer said.
He added that hot pursuit operation is still ongoing against the fleeing rebels who reportedly withdrew towards the Diwata range of the same province.
As of press time, no one was reported hurt on both sides during the gunbattle in Barangay Cayale, he added.
Meanwhile, the command center of the 402nd Infantry (Stingers) Brigade deployed more combat maneuvering troops to beef up pursuing elements of the 36th IB in Cayale area while the Surigao del Sur Police Provincial Mobile Safety Company also conducted blocking positions along the possible escape route of withdrawal of the fleeing rebels, it was learned.
Tags: 402nd Infantry (Stingers) Brigade, Army’s 36th Infantry Battalion, Communist Party of the Philippines, CPP-NPA Northeastern Mindanao Regional Committee, NPA, Reds’ arms cache seized in Surigao Sur