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CAMP ELIAS ANGELES, Pili, Camarines Sur-Four members of the Communist Terrorist Group (CTG) were killed in an armed encounter at Barangay Tugas, Magtnog town, Sorsogon province around 5:50 in the morning Sunday, December 15.

Slain communist terrorist was identified as Robert Estiller AKA Cindy/Meo, Commanding Officer of Sentro De Grabidad (SDG), Larangan 2, Komiteng Probinsya 3 of Bicol Regional Party Committee (BRPC) operating in the towns of Bulan, Irosin, Matnog, Magallanes, Castilla and Juban of the said province and three other unidentified terrorists.

According to the report, combined elements of 31st Infantry Battalion (31IB), 91st Division Reconnaisance Company (91DRC) , 1st and 2nd Sorsogon Provincial Mobile Force Company (SPMFC) were conducting combat operations in response to a report of CTG’s presence in the area when they encountered more or less 60 terrorists.

Firefight lasted for one hour and thirty minutes before the enemies withdrew and scurried to different directions leaving their dead comrades behind.

No one was harmed in the government side.

Recovered from the encounter site are one 5.56mm M653 rifle with a 40mm M203 grenade launcher, one 5.56mm M16A1 rifle with a 40mm M203 grenade launcher and two 5.56mm M16A1 rifles.

It was learned that prior to the armed clash, the terrorists were having an assembly, planning for a tactical offensive and at the same time conducting extortion activities as part of their schemes days before the Communist Party of the Philippines’ (CPP’s) anniversary this December 26.

Joint Task Force Bicolandia (JTFB) under MGEN FERNANDO T TRINIDAD AFP immediately directed the personnel of 31IB to conduct hot pursuit operations against the enemies and tighten the security in the area.

Furthermore, JTFB reminded the public to be wary of other illegal activities expected to be rolled out by the terrorists in connection with their upcoming anniversary.

Nevertheless, Gen. Trinidad assured the Bicolanos that JTFB will not put its guard down and will continue its intensified focused military operations to stop the armed group from spreading harm and violence especially this holiday season.

Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) earlier emphasized that it will not declare Christmas truce this December and will even strengthen its security measures against the enemies of the state planning to disrupt the joyful celebration of Christmas and New Year.

On the other hand, JTFB once again reiterated the call of the government for the CNTs to surrender, lay down their arms and instead of participating in the CTG’s useless cause, help the government in its all out campaign to end the insurgency through the full-swing implementation of Executive Order No. 70 (EO 70) or the Whole-of-Nation Approach.

Through the EO 70, the Regional Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (RTF-ELCAC) or Task Force Katuninongan asin Kauswagan is delivering more effecient and timely plans, programs and projects for the people including the former rebels to assist them in reestablishing their lives outside the armed movement.

This Yuletide season, Gen. Trinidad is encouraging the NPAs to remember their families who are waiting for them saying that the greatest gift they could give to them is their decision to go home, never to return in the mountains to hide but rather establish a more peaceful life.

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