Troops take rebel camps-A A +A
By JM Agreda
Monday, March 31, 2014
TWO cops were killed in a joint offensive operation of government troops against the New People’s Army at around 3:30 p.m. Saturday in Bontoc, Mountain Province.
In a joint press conference Monday at Camp Bado Dangwa in La Trinidad, 501st Infantry Brigade commander Brigadier General Roger Salvador and Police Regional Office Cordillera regional director Isagani Nerez disclosed joint elements of the Regional Public Safety Batallion, Mountain Province Police Public Safety Company and the Philippine Army's 54th Infantry Batallion were conducting tactical operations at Bandong Hill, Barangay Dalican in Bontoc town when they discovered two alleged camps of the New People’s Army with an undetermined number of rebels.
Government troops were fired upon by rebels resulting in the deaths of PO1 Jefferson Sari from the Regional Public Safety Batallion and PO1 Marcelo Kilasen of Mt. Province Public Safety Company.
Meantime, PO1 Romeo Fakat Jr. from the Mt. Province Police Public Safety Company and PO1 Benido Magan from the Regional Public Safety Battalion sustained gunshot wounds and were brought to Bontoc General Hospital for medical treatment.
Mt. Province police and Bontoc municipal station coordinated with residents of Barangay Dalican, Bontoc and Barangay Aguid, Sagada for immediate retrieval of the wounded and killed policemen.
Police Regional Office-Cordillera spokesman Davy Limmong reported the recent clash in Mt. Province is the result of tactical operation against the NPA in the area which started since March 28 after the discovery of the two NPA camps in Bandong Hill.
Nerez, meantime, stressed they are extending help to the casualties of the PNP while the region’s police also pinned medals of heroism to the two injured policemen who were transferred to the Benguet General Hospital Monday afternoon.
He said their counter insurgency operations will continue in the area to finally eliminate remnants of what he claims as once strong NPA presence in Mt. Province.
Salvador reported only less than a hundred NPA cadres are known to be operating in the Mt. Province area stressing they continue to undertake their Oplan Bayanihan to enforce peace in the countryside.
The AFP official stressed the remaining communist rebels have been fighting in provincial boundaries, harassing and extorting from many farming communities.
"These rebels no longer have the ideology with them, they are bandits who extort from the people and conduct their lawless harassment of communities," Salvador added.
Despite the casualties on the part of government troops, both AFP and PNP officials stressed they are now gaining control of once NPA-infested areas in the region with continued tactical operations.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on April 01, 2014.