TACLOBAN CITY – Government troops captured a 65-year-old fighter of the New People’s Army (NPA) left behind by his comrades and seized several explosives and firearms following a gun battle at the outskirts of Borongan City in Eastern Samar on Sunday.
The Philippine Army identified the rebel as Bienvenido Abagancia, a resident of Layo village, Pinabacdao, Samar. Soldiers captured him around 3:30 p.m. shortly after a 30-minute firefight with a small group of rebels in Pinanag-an village.
At the encounter site, the military also recovered four improvised explosive devices, one improvised 7.62mm rifle, one homemade .38-caliber revolver, 16 short/long magazines for M-16 with 336 pieces of ammunition, one M14 magazine with 15 pieces of ammunition, three backpacks containing subversive documents, and personal belongings.
“The success of the operation was made possible because of the cooperation from the communities that are fed up with the lies and atrocities of the communist terrorist group,” said Lt. Col. Oliver Alvior, Philippine Army 78th Infantry Battalion commander, in a statement on Monday.
Alvior renewed his appeal to other NPA members to surrender and return to the fold of the law and avail the government’s programs intended for them.
The seizure of the explosives prevented a future terrorist attack against government forces conducting community support programs, according to Alvior.
It was also in Pinanag-an village where six soldiers died and 20 other government troops were critically injured when NPA rebels detonated a landmine during an ambush on Nov. 11, 2019.
Borongan, the capital of Eastern Samar province, is home to about 70,000 people.
At least nine of its 61 villages are still threatened by activities of the NPA, the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).
The NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines. (PNA)