CAMP CAPINPIN, Tanay, Rizal – A fierce firefight erupted on Friday afternoon when soldiers raided a communist terrorist harbor area at Mauban, Quezon.
The military said that soldiers belonging to the 1st Infantry Battalion based in Tayabas City engaged around 15 NPA terrorists after responding to reports from concerned citizens who informed them of the rebels’ hiding area.
Lieutenant Colonel Jesus Diocton, Commanding Officer of 1st Infantry Battalion, said that the government troops recovered one M16 rifle and voluminous personal effects left behind by the terrorists belonging to Platun A1 under alias Termo who “scampered to different directions fearing for their lives.”
The Army believes that the terrorist group suffered multiple casualties based on reports from informants along the NPAs’ route of withdrawal. Heavy traces of blood as well as human flesh were noticed by government forces in the encounter site.
According to Col Alex Rillera, Commander of the 202nd Infantry Brigade which has operational jurisdiction over the area, no casualty was recorded on the part of his troops.
He attributed the series of successful encounters in his area to the active collaboration at all levels in the implementation and operationalization of Task Forces to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (TF-ELCAC) and the support of the PNP through the Peace, Law Enforcement and Security (PLEDS) Cluster “which denied the communists the space that they need to thrive and further their terroristic plans in this part of the country.”
He ended his statement by assuring the public that “respect for human rights, rule of law and rules of engagement will be strictly observed” as government troops conduct massive pursuit operations against the fleeing NPA terrorists.
Per the military’s record, three encounters have occurred since January in the area of Mauban alone which is a manifestation that the NPAs are no longer welcome in areas that are traditionally known as “communist Guerilla Base.”
Major General Arnulfo Marcelo B Burgos Jr, Commander of the Philippine Army’s 2nd Infantry (Jungle Fighter) Division, lauded his troops for being steadfast in accomplishing their mission as advocates of peace, servants of the people and defenders of Southern Tagalog.
“I am reiterating my appeal to the few remaining NPA terrorists to lay down your arms, live peacefully with your families, avail government grants through E-CLIP and be part of the solution to the problems that our country is facing because the soldiers will never hesitate to use our full military might and resources against any individual or group whose intentions are to harm our people, thwart progress and spoil the peace in our communities”, added MGen Burgos.
He concluded his statement by reaffirming the soldiers’ unwavering commitment to serve the people of Southern Tagalog and secure the area from communist terrorists’ atrocities so that the Filipino people may continue to enjoy the fruits of peace, prosperity and development in this part of the country.
Joint AFP-PNP checkpoints have been established in the area to support the ongoing pursuit operations against the fleeing NPA terrorists.
All available military assets have been placed on high alert.