THE New People's Army (NPA) said it remains "intact and strong," while admitting to launching 13 attacks against government troops in just a month.
But Brigadier General Edgardo De Leon, commander of Army's 403rd Brigade, dismissed these claims as only propaganda of the NPA.
In a statement, a certain "Ka Malem Mabini," coming from the NPA-North Central Mindanao Region Command (NCMRC), said President Rodrigo Duterte's orders to paralyze the NPA had no effect to the armed group.
The NPA claimed responsibility for attacks in Agusan del Norte on July 28, as well as in Barangay Pigsag-an, Cagayan de Oro City on July 30, among others.
The group said such operations claimed the lives of two of its members, who were identified as Jenos "Ka Bebs" Bade and Edmar "Ka Lenon" Laruya.
"The intensified NPA offensives prove that the fascist, corrupt and tyrant US-Duterte regime's arrogate statements will only remain as it is -- unwarrantable. The NPA will always be capable and surefooted because of the people's firm and ardent support in their army," the statement added.
Captain Ryan Layug, 403rd Brigade civil military officer, dared Ka Malem to reveal his identity.
"How do we expect someone who could not even tell his real name tell the truth. He even lied and deny his own identity. How many more missing children and youth is NCMRC keeping? We will reveal names of some soon," he said.
Meanwhile, De Leon cited what happened during the Talakag encounter was that the NPA rebels were actually driven out of their lair in Lanao province.
He said they sought the Moro Islamic Liberation Front's (MILF) help to expel the NPAs who are allegedly setting up hideouts in areas near the MILF communities.
"The MILF acceded to our request, thus 103rd Bde in Marawi made the initial encounter with its 49th Infantry Battalion. The NPAs then moved eastward and were encountered by 51IB of 2Mech Brigade. We in the 403Bde was informed, thus directed 65IB to block the NPAs leading to that decisive encounter in Talakag that resulted to the death of the 2 NPAs," he said.
De Leon said troops took care of the NPA casualties left behind after the encounter.
"Malem did not mention in his story how we helped the parents retrieve the cadavers and how we provided support of the wake until the burial of the dead NPAs," he added.