Bancasi, Butuan City – Several clashes against the CPP-NPA Terrorists (CNTs) transpired over the week when Army troops in Surigao del Norte and Surigao del Sur under the 402nd Infantry (Stingers) Brigade intensify its security operations gearing up for the upcoming national and local midterm election 2019.

Troops of the 30th Infantry (Python) Battalion in Surigao del Norte clashed with CNTs believed to be members of SYP16C, GF16, NEMRC in two (2) separate occasions in the outskirts of Brgy. Camam-onan, Gigaquit, Surigao del Norte. Python troopers engaged five (5) CNTs for more than ten (10) minutes in the afternoon of May 1, 2019 during the conduct of a security patrol in response to the information of terrorist’s presence extorting in the area for the election campaign. A backpack, five kilos rice and CNT personal belongings were recovered in the encounter site. The following day, May 02, 2019, a pursuit operation resulted in another skirmish of same troops against more or less 15 CNTS in twenty minutes gun battle that led to the seizure of one M16 rifle, one long magazine with twenty-five rounds of live ammunitions and assorted foodstuffs.

In Surigao del Sur, elements of the 36th Infantry (Valor) Battalion also stepped up its security operations to ensure communities are protected and the upcoming election is safe and secured. Said operations resulted in a five-minute firefight against CNTs believed to be members of Pltn 8, WGF19, NEMRC under Baron Iligan @JULIAN who were reported forcing civilians to vote for their preferred candidates at Sitio
Lagangan, Brgy Caras-an, Tago, SDS on May 01, 2019. Likewise, another operation on May 02, 2019 resulted in the discovery of a large anti-personnel mine (20ltr container) emplaced along the trail going to the community at vicinity Sitio Lamesa, Brgy Carromata, San Miguel, SDS.

According to Col Licudine, the security preparation in connection with the May 2019 Elections is already emplaced declaring heightened alert for the last remaining days until the Election Day. “Our troops, the PNP and the COMELEC have already laid out security and contingency plans in anticipation of a worst case scenario before, during and after the elections. With the support of civilians and commitment of the
candidates for fair and peaceful election, we are ready to thwart any possible occurrences that may arise in the coming days even after Election Day”.

“The strengthened synergy of the civilian authorities and the army. The convergence between and among stakeholders will be a decisive factor for honest, orderly and peaceful election. I urge every Caraganons be on guard and vigilant against any threat to peace and security in order to prevent untoward incidents that will hamper the exercise of our right to vote. ” Col Licudine added.