THE New People's Army (NPA) on Friday, September 28, raided two detachments of the Army's 8th Infantry Battalion (8IB) in Barangay Calabugao and Barangay Hagpa, both in Impasug-ong town, Bukidnon province.
In a statement sent by the NPA, it says the rebels belonging to the Eastern Misamis Oriental-Northeastern Bukidnon Sub-regional Command (EMONEB-SRC) attacked two patrol bases of the 8IB in two different locations.
The rebels claimed they were able to recover six high-powered firearms in Calabugao village.
First Lieutenant Erwin Bugarin, civic military operations officer of the 8th Infantry Battalion (IB), confirmed the attacks.
He said the Army detachment in KM (kilometer) 30 had been placed there to give security to the communities and guard the natural resources of the Calabugao plains.
Bugarin said they are still gathering details of the attack, but said the area is already secured and free of armed groups.
He said they already sent more troops for reinforcement and to help maintain security the area.
Bugarin described KM 30 as a road used by local government units to deliver services to remote communities, and also, a road used by the rebels to get neighboring towns of Bukidnon and Misamis Oriental.
The road is still under construction.
"Ang ilang katuyuan diha magtanom balik ug kahadlok sa mga tao but they will not succeed, we will not let our guards down and continue with our mandate to protect the people," he added.
Meanwhile, in another incident, troops of the 26th Infantry Battalion scored 6 high-powered firearms and an improvised explosive device in a clash with the rebels in KM 46, Barangay Binicalan, San Luis town, Agusan del Sur also on Friday, Serptember 28.
A 25-minute firefight ensued after troops responded to a report of NPA presence who are conducting extortion activities in the said barangay.
Lieutenant Colonel Rommel Pagayon, 26IB commanding officer, said troops recovered 3 AK 47 rifles, one M14 rifle, one M16 rifle, one M16 rifle with an attached M203 grenade launcher, one improvised M16 rifle, and one IED, and assorted personal belongings and subversive documents.
"As promised to our people, we will respond immediately if anyone needs help. Thanks to your full trust and untiring support to your Army. As to the beleaguered NPAs, there are still options if you wish to go back to your normal lives. Aside from all the opportunities such as livelihood programs offered by our government, the AFP is also opening its door to all of you who wanted to serve in the noble profession of arms. We ask you to reflect and finally come to your decision to abandon the armed struggle," he said.
Major General Ronald Villanueva, commander of the Army’s 4th Infantry Division (4ID), lauded the troops and assures everyone of its commitment to address the threats that are hindrance to peace and development.
"I congratulate my troops who successfully addressed the threat situation in that peaceful community. This I assure everyone that your Army will take all necessary actions that will fully address this more than four decade insurgency situation that hinders our Country's development. Sooner or later if we continue to work together, this insurgency situation will just perish naturally and every plans and programs of our government for our people will all be realized. Everyone will benefit," Villanueva said.
Published in the SunStar Cagayan de Oro newspaper on October 01, 2017.