ILOILO CITY – The Philippine Army’s 61st Infantry Battalion (IB) recovered the body of a member of the New People’s Army (NPA) following an armed encounter in Ongyod village, Miagao town in Iloilo on Monday morning.
In an official statement, Lt. Col. Joel Benedict Batara, commanding officer of the 61IB, said his comrades left behind the dead rebel after the firefight between 61IB troops and more or less 15 members of the NPA.
One of the soldiers was slightly wounded on his legs during the gun battle, but is now in a stable condition.
The encounter resulted in the recovery of one M16 rifle, one anti-personnel mine, medicines, backpacks, kitchen utensils and subversive documents belonging to the rebels.
Last Friday (Sept. 20), an encounter also transpired between government troops and NPA rebels under the Suyak Platoon, Southern Front, Komiteng Rehiyon Panay, also at Ongyod village.
“Our troops are pursuing the same group of communist-terrorists we engaged in the same barangay last Friday, September 20 when the encounter happened. This group is hampering not only development projects in the area but also the people’s peaceful life which prompted the community to report their presence,” Batara said in a statement.
The Friday encounter was able to prevent the rebels from their planned attack targeting the Century Peak Energy Company, a hydro energy plant based in Igbaras town, Iloilo.
Another clash between the Army and the rebels also occurred at Maasin town on Monday morning.
Meanwhile, a Citizen’s Armed Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU) detachment in Dagami village, Maasin town was harassed by members of the communist group on Monday morning, said Capt. Cenon Pancito III, spokesperson of the Philippine Army’s 3rd Infantry Division, in a media interview at Camp Delgado here.
The said harassment is a diversionary attack of the enemy, which aimed to loosen the focus of the troops in Miag-ao, he said.
“This is not a projection of strength of the CPP (Communist Party of the Philippines)-NPA. On our part, we see it that they are losing the ground already,” Pancito said.
He also noted that the Army is receiving helpful information from villagers on the whereabouts of the rebels.
“The information is coming from law enforcement agencies. We are happy that we are tracking the location of this armed group,” he said.
Pancito said the body of the rebel recovered by the Army will be turned over to the local government of Miag-ao.
Maj. Gen. Dinoh Dolina, commander of the Army’s 3ID, called on the rebels encountered by the 61IB to look into the welfare of their wounded comrades.
“Don’t leave them. They are also Filipinos. Surrender them to the government for them to avail of proper medical attention. Your Army will be happy to accept and help your injured companions,” Dolina said in a statement.
“The Army will continue to pursue the CPP-NPA terrorists. You cannot win the war against the government forces. Many of your comrades died and waste their lives in pursuing senseless and bloody armed struggle. While you still have time, better surrender now or suffer the same fate,” he added.
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 / )