Soldiers of 19th Infantry Battalion encountered undetermined number of fully armed communist bandits at Arakan, Cotabato on Saturday, October 20, 2018 at 5:45 a.m., local time.
The 45-minute firefight led to the recovery of one (1) M14 rifle and other materials used in carrying out their terroristic activities such as IEDs, subversive documents, personal belongings, and back packs.
Lt. Col. Ehrlich Noel Paraso, Commanding Officer of 19IB said the encounter happened shortly after receiving reports about communist bandits’ plan to recover their mass base and impose disciplinary actions to the residents of Barangay Lanao Kuran for supporting the military.
The said plan was confirmed when a resident, who requested anonymity, reported the presence of armed groups in the vicinity of Sitio Quarry, Barangay Lanao Kuran. The report prompted19IB troopers who are presently conducting Community Support Program (CSP) to patrol the area, in order protect the defenceless residents against the imminent attack of the said communist bandits.
Paraso detailed further that while patrolling the area, troops under 1Lt. Bryan Albano of Charlie Company was fired upon, prompting them to return fire at the communist bandits’ position.
There was no casualty on the government side. But a military informant who was with the communist bandits revealed that a certain Alias Alvin was killed. His M14 rifle was later recovered by the operating troops of Charlie Company. The informant added that two female communist bandits were also seriously wounded during the encounter.
Last July of this year, three communist bandits were killed during an encounter between 19IB and 50 NPAs of Pulang Bagani Command 2 (PBC2) of Southern Mindanao Regional Committee in the nearby town of Magpet.
“The communist bandits had been extorting money and killing people, mostly tribal leaders in Arakan Valley Complex. The NPA must admit the fact that the people in their former strongholds are now rising up against them”, Paraso added.
“Once again, I am calling for the remaining bandits who are still out there in the mountains to surrender for them to avail of the government’s Enhance Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) and live a normal life”, Paraso stressed.