GOVERNMENT forces recovered at least two unidentified dead bodies of suspected communist rebels during a pursuit and clearing operation in Barangay Binicalan, San Luis, Agusan del Sur, over the weekend.
The two rebels identified with the New People’s Army (NPA) reportedly died during the 25-minute firefight between the military troops in the said community last Friday, September 29.
Soldiers belonging to the 26th Infantry Battalion seized high powered guns that included two AK47, a 9mm submachine gun, M14, M16 with M203 grenade launcher, explosives, bullets, personal belongings and subversive documents after the gunfight.
Captain Joe Patrick Martinez, spokesperson of the army's 4th Infantry Division (4ID), said the troops followed the vehicles of the withdrawing rebels when they found the remains of the two NPA fighters along the way.
The military said after the clash, the Maoist guerillas ran to different directions bringing along with their wounded comrades.
Martinez said civilians informed the troops that a number of NPAs were fatally wounded in the gun battle and that the two were left to die while others are running away.
"Sinundan ng tropa yung truck nang nakita yung mga bangkay na iniwan sa daan along the way. Sinabi ng mga civilian na hirap daw buhatin ng mga NPA yung bangkay kaya iniwan," Martinez said.
The military is coordinating with the local government unit to identify the dead bodies and be given with decent burial.
Lieutenant Colonel Rommel Pagayon, 26IB commanding officer, said that "unnecessary loss of lives could have been prevented if these NPA's had heed the call of the government to lay down their arms and live their lives peacefully and happily with the families."
"As promised to our people, we will respond immediately if anyone needs our help. 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," Pagayon said
For his part, 4ID commander Major General Ronald Villanueva said the military assures everyone of its commitment to address the threats that are hindrance to peace and development.
"I would like to congratulate my troops who successfully addressed the threat situation in the said community. This I assure everyone that your army will take necessary actions that will fully address this more than four decade insurgency situation that hinders our country's development," Villanueva said.