By Mike Crismundo
CAMP DATU MAKAPANDONG, Prosperidad, Agusan del Sur – Combat maneuvering troops of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) have seized a New People’s Army (NPA) encampment in Upper Maba, Barangay Limot, Veruela, Agusan del Sur.
Capt. Rodulfo S. Cordero, spokesperson of the Army’s 401st Infantry (Unity) Brigade based here, on Tuesday said that the abandoned NPA encampment had some make-shift huts and listening posts which could accommodate 50 NPA terrorists.
“The seized NPA camp belonged to the guerilla-Front Committee 3 of the CPP-NPA Southern Mindanao Regional Committee,” said Capt. Cordero.
He said pursuing combat maneuvering troops of the 26th Infantry Battallion (26th IB) personally led by its commander Lt. Col. Rommel S. Pagayon, were tracking down the bloodstains of the fleeing NPAs encountered by the troops last week when the troops found the abandoned NPA camp.
“Our field troops are continuously pursuing the fleeing NPAs in the hope that some of their wounded will be treated of their bullet wounds,” sid the 401st Brigade spokesperson.
The elements of the 26th IB were in hot trail of the running NPAs after they engaged them (NPAs) in a fierce firefight last Saturday where an alleged NPA commander and another guerilla fighter were killed in Sitio Vergara, Barangay Sta. Emelia, Veruela town of that same province, Capt. Cordero added.
On Sunday, combat maneuvering troops of the 29th Infantry Battallion also captured the NPA encampment after a fierce gunbattle with the rebels that also resulted in the killing of 3 NPAs and the wounding of several others in Sitio Taiwan, Barangay Bangayan, in Kitcharao town, Agusan del Norte, themilitary report also said.
Meanwhile, more NPA members, supporters and sympathizers voluntarily surrendered last week to the field troops in Bukidnon province, Capt. Norman Tagros, spokesperson of the Army’s 403rd Infantry Brigade based in that province, said on Tuesday.
He said among those who surrendered were two NPA regulars, 35 Militia ng Bayan (MB) members and 93 civilian supporters and sympathizers.
The surrenderees also brought 34 assorted firearms, assorted live ammunitions and an improvised explosive device, he said.
The 403rd Brigade spokesperson added that the former NPAs, their supporters and sympathizers initially surrendered to the First Special Forces Battalion in Sumilao town, also in that highland and agricultural-rich province of Bukidnon last Wednesday (Feb. 7).
Meanwhile, , Brig. Gen. Eric Vinoya, commanding general of the 403rd Brigade, said the continuous surrender of NPAs in Bukidnon was the product of the military’s sustained “community support programs” and “peace and development program” as well as its combat operations in targeted areas in that province.