CAMP EVANGELISTA, Cagayan de Oro City – The troops of the 4th Infantry (Diamond) Division encountered CPP-NPA Terrorists (NPAs) today at a forested area in Brgy Mabuhay, San Fernando, Bukidnon. The incident resulted in the killing of 4 NPAs, the capture of 9 other NPAs including a 12-year old child-soldier, and the seizure of 16 high-powered firearms.
In response to information from residents that a group of NPAs is on recruitment and extortion activities at their community, the elements of 88IB under the operational control of the 403rd Infantry Brigade of the 4th Infantry (Diamond) Division immediately conducted strike operations to protect the populace in the said area from NPA atrocities. The troops subsequently encountered more or less 20 NPAs under alias MIGZ, Front Secretary, Guerilla Front Malayag of the Sub Regional Committee 2 (SRC2) of the North Central Mindanao Regional Committee (MRC).
Maj. Gen. Romeo S Brawner Jr., Commander of the 4ID, disclosed that a 1-hour running gun battle ensued around 8 o’clock in the morning that initially resulted in the seizure of 3 AK47 Rifles, 4 M16 Rifles and 1 M203 Grenade Launcher, the killing of 4 unidentified NPAs, and capture of 2 others.
“It is a running gun battle wherein our troops were eventually chasing after the NPAs who are scampering towards different directions after the initial firefight. With the persistence of our troops during pursuit operation, they were able to subsequently capture another 7 NPAs including the 12-year old child-soldier, and seized another 8 high-powered firearms composed of 2 AK47 Rifles, 3 M16 Rifles, 1 M14 Rifle, and 2 M653 Rifles. The pursuit operations are still ongoing”, Maj. Gen. Brawner Jr. said.
Maj. Gen. Brawner Jr. also conveyed his sincerest condolences to the families of the dead NPAs. He added that the tragic demise of the said NPAs and the recruitment of a 12-year-old minor is a manifestation of the futility of the armed struggle. The series of victories against the NPAs this past weeks, he said, is a testament of the people’s trust and confidence in our soldiers.
“The people are fed up and tired of the never-ending violence and treachery perpetrated by the NPA including their wanton disregard of the International Humanitarian Law (IHL) in recruiting minors to bear arms. I assure you that they will not win against the government especially with the people on our side, as the people have long wanted to live in peace and collectively pursue development initiatives”, Maj. Gen. Brawner stressed.
He lauded the courage and bravery of the troops of the 88IB and cited the troops as a beacon of gallantry and selfless commitment in protecting the people and fighting for peace.
“We congratulate the 403rd Infantry Brigade under Brig. Gen. Ferdinand T Barandon and 88IB under Lt. Col. Christian James P Vingno for the successful encounter against the NPA. Surely this victory is another setback that will encourage perhaps most NPA members to return to the peaceful path and abandon the armed struggle”.
On the other hand, troops of the 23rd Infantry Battalion under Lt. Col. Julius Cesar T. Paulo Jr. under the operational control of 402nd Infantry Brigade under Col. Adonis G. Orio, also seized 3 AK47 Rifles, 2 M203 Grenade Launchers, and 1 Anti-Personnel Mine during an encounter on Monday around 2:20 PM at Sitio Manawang, Barangay Guinabsan, Buenavista, Agusan del Norte.
Maj. Gen. Brawner Jr confirmed the said encounter and said that a platoon from 23IB that is conducting Focused Military Operations encountered more or less 25 NPAs believed to be remnants of GF4A of NCMRC led by Jelan Pinakilid alias Baking and 1st Platoon of HQF NEO of NCMRC led by Crisanto Ligayna alias Tazar.
“I would like to convey also my congratulations to 23IB and 402nd Brigade for the job well done. This bespeaks the professionalism of our troops and their commitment to ensure that our people are protected from those who advocate violence in furtherance of their own agenda”.
Moreover, a certain Benito Cagas Gumapac @Dave/Ben, Squad Leader of Banacon Squad of Sentro De Gravidad (SDG), GF16 of the North Eastern Mindanao Regional Committee (NEMRC), voluntarily surrendered without a firearm to Lt. Col. Aristotle F Antonio, Commanding Officer of 29th Infantry Battalion on Monday morning, September 6, 2021.
“Alias Dave is 22 years old, single and a resident of Brgy Bangayan, Kitcharao, Agusan del Norte and was exploited by the NPAs by targeting his vulnerabilities and weakness. This is how the NPA deceives their potential recruits and lures them to join the armed struggle. With his decision to return to a peaceful path, another life will be saved and will be given better opportunities under the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP)”, Maj. Gen. Brawner Jr. explained.
It can be recalled that last September 2, 2021, a 15-minute encounter also ensued at the mountainous area of Sitio Sutton, Brgy Cagdianao, Claver, Surigao del Norte between the troops of the 30th Infantry Battalion under Lt. Col. Ryan Charles Callanta and more or less 10 NPAs of SYP Platun 16C1, GF16, NEMRC under Roel T Neniel alias “Jacob” on September 2, 2021, resulting in the death of one (1) NPA alias “Asyong”, the Vice Platoon Commander and Political Officer of SYP Platun, 16C1, GF16, NEMRC and the capture of two (2) AK47 Rifles, one (1) M14 rifle, one (1) bandolier, two (2) AK47 magazines, seven (7) M14 magazines with ammunition, and assorted medicines.
Maj. Gen. Brawner Jr. concluded that the 4ID campaign against the NPA is on the right track because civilians are now vigilant and participating in the fight against the NPA by providing vital information that led to the series of victories against the NPA.