By Francis Wakefield
A Communist New People’s Army (NPA) terrorist, who was reported to be recruiting teenagers and involved in extortion, was killed following an encounter with government troops in Misamis Occidental early this week.
It was learned that troops from the 10th Infantry Battalion (10th IB) were acting on a report about the presence of armed elements that were recruiting the youth and extorting from the populace, when they encountered an undetermined number of NPA rebels in Barangay San Pedro, Aloran, Misamis Occidental, at about 9:40 a.m. Monday, February 18.
A firefight that lasted for about 30 minutes ensued before the terrorists scampered to different directions, bringing with them their wounded members as manifested by the blood stains seen in the area. One of their colleagues was also killed as a result of the clash.
“The encounter was the result of the information received by our troops from a concerned civilian who reported the presence of an armed group in their community while we are conducting community security operations,” said Lt. Col. John Andrada, commanding Officer of the 10th IB.
While scouring the encounter site, troops recovered an AK 47 rifle, three magazines, and subversive documents with high intelligence value.
Col. Bagnus Gaerlan, 102nd Infantry Brigade commander, said they already identified the rebel groups’ lairs and they have no longer have any place to go.
“We call on those NPA terrorists to lay down their arms peacefully, be given proper medication and we ensure them that their rights will be respected,” Gaerlan said.
Brig. Gen. Roberto T. Ancan, commander of the Joint Task Force ZamPeLan (Zamboanga Peninsula, Lanao), said that the Army, together with the local government units, the civil society organizations, other stakeholders, and the peace-loving people of Misamis Occidental, will continue to reach out to the rebels and ask them to listen to the call for peace of the people.
“Listen to the call of the people, lay down your arms, return to the folds of the law and avail the government’s Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP),” Ancan said.
He also expressed his sympathy to the family and relatives of the NPA terrorist who was killed.
“It is very tragic that he has taken arms against the people of Misamis Occidental when only through peace can development and social justice be achieved,” he said.
Additional troops were deployed to run after the fleeing terrorists while members of the Philippine National Police Scene of the Crime Operatives (SOCO) conducted investigation in the encounter site.
Troops of the 10th IB were also in close communication with the barangay officials to ensure the safety and security of the residents in the area.
“I commend the troops of the 10th Infantry Division under the Joint Task Force ZamPeLan for their prompt response to the report,” said Lieutenant General Arnel B. Dela Vega, commander of the Western Mindanao Command.
“Rest assured that we will unceasingly conduct intensified operations against these menaces of society,” he added.