Army thwarts NPA arson attempt in Agusan del Norte

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PLACER, Surigao del Norte— The 29th Infantry (Matatag) Battalion foiled the attempt of the communist NPA terrorists to conduct sabotage after a firefight ensued in Barangay Baleguian, Jabonga, Agusan del Norte, Tuesday evening, September 29.

Based on the report, the soldiers immediately conducted combat patrol upon receiving reports from the concerned civilians about the presence of more or less five communist NPA terrorists believed to be members of SYP16A, Guerilla Front 16. Identified among the perpetrators are Marvin Bugas, who hails from Barangay Hagupit, Santiago, Agusan del Norte; and Eliamar Elecito Monter, who is from Baleguian, Jabonga of the same province. It is significant to note that Eliamar Elecito Monter hails from the same barangay where the thwarted arson attempt of the NPA happened.

The said clash lasted for about three minutes afterwhich the communist terrorists fled in haste towards east direction of the encounter site leaving their personal stuff and container with gasoline that they will use for torching. No one was hurt on the government side while developing reports indicated that NPA suffered casualties in the said firefight.

According to the 29th Infantry Battalion, the unit that has operational jurisdiction over the area, the encounter site was few meters away from the site of Reyrose Construction who is implementing irrigation project in the said place. The project was intended for the Baleguian Farmers Irrigators Association (BOFIA), an organization formerly influenced by communist terrorist group but already cut their ties and denounce the CTG.

Initial investigation reveals that extortion was the main motive behind the failed attempt. As to this press time, the soldiers are conducting pursuit operations to track down fleeing enemies.

In the statement of Lt. Col. Isagani O Criste, Battalion Commander 29IB, he said that the operation conducted was an intel driven effort in response to reliable and timely information provided by the locals. He also added that their action was a manifestation of their commitment to secure the developmental projects and activities within their area of responsibility.
Meanwhile, Col. George L Banzon, Commander of 901st Infantry (Fight’Em) Brigade, lauded rapid response of the ground troops that led to the prevention of NPA sabotage. He added that involvement of locals within the community is vital for the security forces to have a prompt and responsive action on the ground.

“We will have effective course of actions in preventing this threat group from doing atrocity if the community will cooperate and will not hide information. What transpired in the recent incident is a classic manifestation that we can make a difference if we will actively participate in the peace efforts in our respective communities”, he said.

Col Banzon also added that more than display of trust and confidence to the soldiers, “the incident clearly suggests that the people are already tired of the NPA’s anti-people and anti-development terroristic actions”
“With this, we will continue our efforts to protect the numerous projects in the brigade’s area of operations since all of us will be benefitted from these initiatives”, he added.