ILIGAN CITY — Two New People’s Army (NPA) rebels were killed in an encounter with government troops in Zamboanga Sibugay on Saturday, the military’s Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) said.
Capt. Jo-An Petinglay, the Westmincom spokesperson, said soldiers under the Joint Task Force Zampelan, led by Brig. Gen. Rolly Bautista, encountered around 30 NPAs in Diplahan, Zamboanga Sibugay on Saturday afternoon (May 13).
She said members of the 44th Infantry Battalion engaged in a firefight with the rebels belonging to the NPA’s “Feliciano Bravo” group at around 5 p.m. at Sitio Malagak, Barangay Guinoman,in Diplahan.
After the gunbattle, the soldiers found two dead rebels, and two high-powered firearms—AK47 and an M16 rifle. Soldiers also saw bloodstains in the area and on the route of the enemy withdrawal.
Lt. Col. Jo-ar Herrera, spokesperson of the Army’s First Infantry Tabak Division, said the two rebels, identified only as Henry and Tibo, both of the Mindanao Regional Party Committee, were killed, Herrera said.
Two militiamen were also wounded in the clash.
Brigadier General Bautista, commander of the First ID, said the encounter happened after civilians and local officials reported the presence of communist rebels in Sitio Malagak in Guinoman.
On the government side, two local civilian volunteers were wounded during the firefight. The members of the 44th Infantry Battalion are pursuing the rebels and blocking their possible routes of escape.
“This is a positive result of the military’s continued engagements with the local populace and LGUs (local government units). The shared commitment of attaining peace with local authorities resulted to strong cooperation of the communities to report the presence of NPA members at Sitio Malagak,” said Brigadier General Bautista, Joint Task Force Zampelan head and commander of the Army’s 1st Infantry (Tabak) Division.
Meanwhile, a group of Marines also encountered NPA rebels in the mountains of Kalamansig, Sultan Kudarat Province over the weekend. The Marines recovered one M16 rifle and four improvised explosive devices.
“I would like to congratulate the troops of the Joint Task Force Zampelan and the Joint Task Force Central for the laudable accomplishments,” said Lt. Gen. Carlito G Galvez, Jr, Westmincom chief.
“We would also like to recognize the overwhelming support received from the local government units and the communities. Truly, without these assistance, we will not be able to accomplish our mission easily,” he said.
“As long as we are together in this fight, we are sure to win over any kinds of threat that hinders communities to be peaceful and progressive,” he added.
By: Philip C. Tubeza, Richel V. Umel Philippine Daily Inquirer