CAMP CAPINPIN, Tanay, Rizal — An NPA terrorist died after a 15-minute armed encounter against combined soldiers and police forces at Brgy Happy Valley of Oriental Mindoro’s Socorro town on Friday.

According to the military, the government forces were able to track and engage the NPA’s Main Regional Guerrilla Unit which was sent by the communists’ Southern Tagalog Regional Party Committee to reinforce and avert the terrorists’ impending collapse in the island province.

Lt Col Mario Lito Retirva, Commanding Officer of 76IB which operates in the province, said that his troops “immediately responded after receiving information from disgruntled citizens about the presence of NPA extortionists in the area”.

He added that they were able to recover from the encounter site the body of a still unidentified terrorist, a Cal .45 pistol, numerous ammunition, magazines for various calibers of firearms, improvised explosive devices and voluminous enemy documents after the enemies-of-the-state were forced to retreat and escape the government forces’ overwhelming military might.

Brigadier General Antonio Lastimado, Commander of 203rd Brigade which has operational jurisdiction over MIMARO Provinces, said that “this successful military operation is among the many indicators that the NPA terrorists are no longer welcome in the region.”

According to him, the incident is the second encounter in a week that was recorded in the province, the first being in Bulalacao, wherein an NPA leader known as alias Sander was killed after a five-minute firefight.

BGen Lastimado ended his statement by assuring the public that his troops “are exerting our best to put an end to terroristic activities in Mindoro and that we will continue to be active partners of the LGUs and the people in attaining the aspirations of our Provincial Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict or PTF ELCAC.”

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 asking the few remaining NPA terrorists to lay down your arms, live peacefully with your families, avail grants of the government’s Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program or E-CLIP and be part of the solution to the problems that our country is facing,” said MGen Burgos.

He also expressed his sympathies and condolences to the family of the dead terrorist saying that “although we do not rejoice in seeing a fellow Filipino die, I hope that his unfortunate fate shall serve as a notice that the soldiers will never hesitate to use our full might and resources against any individual or group whose intentions are to harm our people, thwart progress and spoil the peace in our communities.”

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.