LEGAZPI CITY – Operatives of Masbate City Police Station and Army troops conducted hot pursuit operations after Sunday’s anti-personnel land mine (APM) blast believed to be planted by New People’s Army rebels in Barangay Anas, Masbate City that killed the Far Eastern University (FEU) football player, and his cousin, and wounded another family member.
Government troops clashed with fleeing NPA rebels in Barangay Mapiña and seized assorted sizes of APM at the encounter site.
“The firefight lasted for 10 minutes with no casualty among the government troops while undetermined on the enemy side,” said Lt. Col. Steve dela Rosa, Masbate City chief of police, in an interview on Monday.
He said the area is still being scoured by the composite teams while checkpoints have been put up in Barangay Kinamaligan and Bayombom.
Meanwhile, in Bulan town, Sorsogon, an NPA guerrilla identified as alias Gorio surrendered to Army’s 22nd Infantry Battalion (22IB) on Sunday.
In a statement, Lt. Col. Nelson Mico, Battalion Commander of 22IB, said the surrenderer also turned in an M16 rifle, an improvised hand grenade, and one .38 caliber revolver.
“Alias Gorio was also encouraged to go down the mountains after learning about the continuous surrender of his former comrades since the beginning of 2021,” he said.
Col. Aldwine Almase, Brigade Commander of 903rd Infantry Brigade, lauded his troops for the undying passion and commitment to efficiently deliver positive results for the government’s all-out war against communist insurgency.
“While the CTG (communist terrorist group) is trying to carry out their evil acts, we are doubling our time to continue crippling them, bring them on bended knees, and eventually push them to extinction,” Almase said.
In Donsol, Sorsogon, a separate joint combat operation overran CTGs hideouts and seized several materials and supplies.
Lt. Col. Eric Culvera, Battalion Commander of 31st Infantry Battalion, said the accomplishment will restrict the movement of the NPA rebels as they will have to look for another encampment, making them more vulnerable to the government troops.
Maj. Gen. Henry Robinson Jr, commander of the Joint Task Force Bicolandia, said despite CTGs’ attempts to hamper the implementation of the Whole-of-Nation Approach, the security sector holds fast to its mandate of finishing the fight against communist insurgency.
“Our resolve to make the CTG irrelevant and put an end to their useless cause is firm enough to be swayed by the terrorist group’s atrocities. What makes our campaigns triumphant is the support from the Bicolanos whose clamor is genuine peace and sustainable development,” Robinson said.
The use of APMs is a violation of the International Humanitarian Law and the 1997 Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention adopted by the international community, prohibiting the acquisition, production, stockpiling, and use of weapons.
The Communist Party of the Philippines-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines. (PNA)