CAMP MELCHOR F DELA CRUZ, Gamu, Isabela – Two sniper teams of the 95th Infantry Battalion from the 5th Infantry “Star” Division (5ID), Philippine Army recovered high powered firearms after an encounter with communists terrorists in Brgy. Ara, Benito Soliven, Isabela on November 25, 2019. The Army’s sniper teams were conducting a focused military operation when they engaged by about 20 communist terrorists who are believed to be members of the Regional Sentro de Gravidad (RSDG) of the CPP-NPA’s Komiteng Rehiyon – Cagayan Valley. The firefight lasted for about 30 minutes ending with the CTs withdrawal from the encounter site.
The operation led to the recovery of one M14 rifle and two M653 rifles. Two army troops were slightly wounded by shrapnels during the battle, while the casualties on the enemy side are still undetermined. It is believed that not less than three Communist NPA Terrorists were either killed or seriously wounded as manifested by the three high-powered assault rifles that they left in the encounter site as well as numerous heavy bloodstains in the vicinity and their routes of withdrawal. Also recovered were ammunitions, magazines, a rifle grenade, detonating cords for explosives, food supplies, back packs with personal items and subversive documents.
5ID had already raised the alarm in the area, alerting the nearby operating Army units, CAFGU Active Auxiliary Patrol Bases as well as the Philippine National Police to conduct pursuit, checkpoint and resource control operations in the boundaries of Benito Soliven, San Mariano, San Guillermo and Cauayan City which is covered by the CPP-NPA’s Central Front Committee, KR-CV.
MGen Pablo Lorenzo, Commander of the Philippine Army’s 5th Infantry Division, said, “Our latest gains against the New People’s Army are made possible with the help of the people in the communities being threatened and terrorized by the CTGs. This shows that the communist terrorist group is losing its ground with the continuing loss of their mass bases in the conflict-affected barangays. Not only that, the CTG in the area is experiencing a very significant reduction of their manpower with the killing, surrender or going lie-low of their cadres, regular fighters, secret police in the barangays called Militia ng Bayan, and even their Communist Party members in the barangays called Sangay ng Partido sa Lokalidad. Likewise, many of their firearms have been seized by or surrendered to the military and police, thereby, greatly reducing their combat power.” Offering peace and reconciliation under the government’s Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) to the CNTs, MGen Lorenzo further said, “The Filipino people can no longer be cowered in fear and deceived by the CTGs’ duplicity and violence, murderous and destructive ways, as well deceptive and bankrupt ideology. Obviously, the CTGs are on the run from the relentless military and police operations as well as the social pressure from different sectors of society and the people. So, your only option is to lay down your arms and join the mainstream of our society that is very much ready, willing and able to accept you with open arms. Rest assured that your Philippine Army will continue to perform its mandate to serve the people and protect our sovereignty and democratic way of life"