A suspected member of the New People’s Army (NPA) was killed in an encounter with Army soldiers in Barangay Anomar Surigao City on Thursday morning.
Lt. Col. Allen Tomas, commander of the Army’s 30th InfantryBattalion (IB), said that troopers led by 1st Lt. Jonel Castillo were conducting combat operation in the area and encountered at least 30 fully armed suspected rebels who were reportedly conducting extortion activities to residents in the area.
The firefight lasted for almost an hour and resulted to the recovery of one M16 rifle, ammunition, three anti-personnel landmines and 100 meters detonating wires. The encounter also resulted in the death of one rebel whose identity is yet known.
The 30IB has immediately coordinated with the Surigao City government to identify the lone NPA rebel killed during the encounter. No one was reported injured on the government side.
Pursuit operations were ongoing in directions where the rebels were believed to have escaped.
Tomas said this unfortunate incident could have been avoided only if the NPA, which the military has classified as a terrorist organization, listened to the call of the government to stop their criminal activities and avail the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP.)
“We extend our deepest sympathies to the family of the dead NPA terrorist. It is tragic that up to this moment, the NPAs have done it excessively and at the expense of peaceful civilians living in the area. We can’t simply allow it to happen. But for now, we will ensure that the slain communist terrorist will be delivered to his family for proper burial,” he said.
The Army expects more movement from communist rebels as the anniversary of the NPA on March 29 draws near.
In a statement on Sunday, the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) said the NPA vowed to intensify attacks against government forces to celebrate its 50th founding anniversary this month.
“We are celebrating the NPA’s 50th anniversary as its units carry out tactical offensives across the country to punish the worst of the Duterte regime’s fascist agents and defend the people’s rights, advance their struggle for land reform and build the people’s organizations and organs of political power,” it said.
The CPP urged the revolutionary forces to also wage “all forms of information, educational and propaganda activity to broadcast the call for waging people’s war. Let us rouse the people to support and join the NPA”.
“Let us show why the NPA is cherished by the masses as their true people’s army. Let us belie the ‘terrorist tagging’ of the US-Duterte regime and show who the real terrorists are,” it added. By CLC