CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – The Army’s 4th Infantry Division (4ID) on Tuesday confirmed that six New People’s Army (NPA) fighters were killed during two separate clashes in Bukidnon and Agusan del Norte.
Reports said the 1st Special Forces Battalion (1SFBn) under the operational control of 403rd Infantry Brigade of the 4ID engaged the NPA in its hideout at the mountainous area of Sitio Cogon Cogon, Brgy. Manalog in Malaybalay, Bukidnon around 6:45 a.m. on Sept. 20.
The soldiers encountered around 15 combined fighters under the Headquarters Forces Neo (HQF-NEO), Regional Sentro De Gravidad Compaq (RSDG COMPAQ), and Guerilla Front 89 (GF-89) of the North Central Mindanao Regional Committee (NCMRC).
The encounter happened after the 1SFBn and the 8th Infantry Battalion (8IB) launched a focused military operation against these three groups, as well as the National Operations Command (NOC) of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP)-NPA, Kommid, and Regional Operations Command (ROC).
After securing the encounter site, the military found five dead communist rebels abandoned by their comrades. Seized were 11 high-powered firearms composed of six AK47 rifles, two M16 rifles, and three M653 rifles; as well as a cal-.45 pistol and various war materiel.
No casualty on the government side was recorded.
Agusan del Norte
Meanwhile, another clash also transpired around 3:00 PM on the same day, at the forested area of Barangay Bugsukan, Butuan City in Agusan del Norte between joint forces of 15SAC, 1SAB, Police Special Action Forces, and 65IB against an undetermined number of fully armed communist rebels.
The firefight lasted for 15 minutes and resulted in the death of a guerilla identified as Alias “Jimboy” of the Sandatahang Yunin Pampropaganda 21A (SYP21A), GF21, Sub-Regional Committee (SRC) Westland of the North Eastern Mindanao Regional Committee (NEMRC), and seized three high-powered firearms – two M16 rifles with magazines, and one M203 40MM Grenade launcher.
In his statement Tuesday, Major General Romeo S. Brawner Jr., commander of the 4ID, said that the police are working side by side with the military.
“The CTG (Communist Terrorist Group) will never win in this fight. With the PNP (Philippine National Police) making their presence felt in the anti-insurgency campaign, we expect more and more CTG members and leaders to heed our call for peace after the series of setbacks they suffered in the past days in Bukidnon. Voluntary surrender is imminent and choosing to return to the peaceful path to avail the Enhance Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) would be the better option for the CTG,” he said.
For September alone, a total of 11 government-initiated encounters have transpired resulting in the neutralization of 34 guerillas, and seizure of 56 high-powered and four low-powered firearms during military operations.
Seven communist rebel hideouts were also overrun or discovered by the 4ID troops during the period.
“We are calling all remnants of the CPP-NPA-NDF or the Communist Terrorist Group particularly in Bukidnon province to stop the senseless fight and save their lives. I am appealing to the CPP-NPA-NDF leaders to give peace a chance.
Brawner appealed to the remaining communist rebels in Bukidnon to “stop the senseless fight and give peace a chance.”
“Can they not find a little space in their hearts that desires for peace and end this futile armed struggle that cost so many lives? Is it not clear that our people want peace and not chaos? People want development, not senseless deaths,” he said.
The Philippines’ Anti-Terrorism Council has designated the CPP, NPA, and NDF as terrorist groups. The European Union, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines also listed the CPP-NPA as a terrorist organization. (PNA)