By Mike Crismundo
CAMP BANCASI, Butuan City – Combat maneuvering troops of the Army’s 23rd Infantry (Masigasig) Battalion (23rd IB) seized several war materials, medicines and medical supplies after a gunbattle with Communist New People’s Army Terrorists (CNTs) in Barangay Valentina, Esperanza, Agusan del Sur province, military report on Friday said.
Initial field reports also stated that operating troops of the 23rd “Masigasig” Battallion believed there were casualties among the fleeing rebels.
“The enemies hastily scampered in different directions, leaving behind heavy traces of bloodstains which indicate that CNT members suffered severe wounds during the gunbattle,” 1Lt Roel T. Maglalang, Civil Military Operation (CMO) officer of the 23rd IB said.
Maglalang said they were believed to be members of Guerilla Front 88 (GF 88) of the CPP-NPA North-Central Regional Mindanao Committee.
Lt. Col. Francisco L. Molina, Jr., 23rd IB commander, said he deployed a team after villagers reported the presence of CNTs in barangay Valentina. The responding troopers engaged at 2 p.m. on Wednesday some 15 heavily armed CNTs for a more than 15-minute gunfight.
Molina said that after scouring the encounter site, the troops recovered one AK47 rifle, one M4 rifle, 6 magazines of AK47 rifle, 2 hand grenades, 2 rifle grenades, several rounds of ammunition for M14 and AK47 rifles, 2 bandoleers, 1 Handheld radio, several identification cards, 7 backpacks containing assorted medicines and medical supplies and CNT subversive documents.
Molina expressed his gratitude to the concerned citizens who provided positive and timely information about the presence of NPA.
“Through the cooperation of the civilian stakeholders, we can easily thwart the hostile plans of the CNTs in the community. This only means that the residents are already tired of the lies and deception of the CNTs,” he said. “Their extortion activity is already too much,” he said.
“We need the continuous cooperation of every peace-loving stakeholder to actively report to us the whereabouts of the enemies,” Molina said, adding, “We also encouraged the CNT members to stop being used by their leaders who spend extravagant lives in mansions and cool places. They must abandon armed struggle and go back to the folds of the law, live a peaceful life together with their families and loved ones. Our government is open to help you”.