BUTUAN CITY – A ranking officer of the New People’s Army was killed while another was captured in an encounter with members of the Philippine Army in Gigaquit, Surigao del Norte on Tuesday.
In a statement issued on Wednesday, Lt. Col. Ryan Charles Callanta, commander of the 30th Infantry Battalion (30IB), said the Army troopers were sent after receiving information on the presence of NPA combatants threatening residents of Barangay Lahi.
“The NPA terrorists were blaming the residents of Barangay Lahi for not facilitating the transport of food supplies for the celebration of the 52nd anniversary of the NPA on Tuesday,” Callanta said.
Upon reaching the community, the NPA rebels fired upon the approaching soldiers that resulted in an hour of gun battle.
Killed in the encounter was alias “War”, vice commanding officer of the Sandatahang Yunit Pampropaganda, Platoon 16C1 of Guerrilla Front 16 of the NPA’s North Eastern Mindanao Regional Committee.
Another NPA combatant, identified as alias “Bebot”, was captured wounded by the 30IB troopers after the encounter.
The government forces also recovered an M16 rifle, an M203 grenade launcher, fragmentation grenades, foodstuffs, and personal belongings from the encounter site.
“Alias Bebot was slightly wounded. He was immediately administered with first aid by our troops at the encounter site. He was evacuated to the Municipal Health Unit in Gigaquit for further medication,” Callanta said.
No government troopers were hurt during the encounter, he added.
“I personally express my gratitude and appreciation to the local citizens of Surigao del Norte for their full cooperation in providing vital information regarding the CNT (Communist NPA Terrorist) plans and whereabouts,” Callanta said.
“Without the support of the local populace, the CNTs may have been roaming freely and continue to wreak havoc and violence, particularly in Indigenous People communities.”
He also expressed sadness over the death of alias “War”, saying the latter’s life was sacrificed fighting the senseless cause and futile ideology of the NPA rebels.
Callanta urged the remaining rebels in the area to surrender and offered them various opportunities through the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program.
“On our end, we will also provide the former rebels with all the necessary assistance for their new lives. We will also conduct relentless military pursuit operations to run after them, and use all our available assets to eliminate those who attempt to disrupt the peace and development programs in Surigao del Norte,” he said.
The CPP-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)