AN UNIDENTIFIED body was found after an encounter between soldiers from the Army's 61st Infantry (Hunter) Battalion and members of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army (CPP-NPA) in Barangay Ongyod, Miagao, Iloilo.
The body, which was found around 8 a.m. Monday, September 23, is believed to be that of a male NPA rebel, who is between 16 to 18 years old.
Lieutenant Colonel Joel Benedict Batara, commanding officer of Hunter Battalion, said close to 15 members of the CPP-NPA group fled after the firefight.
"Our troops are pursuing the same group of communist-terrorists we engaged in the same barangay last Friday, September 20, when the encounter happened. This group is hampering not only development projects in the area, but also the people's peaceful life, which prompted the community to report their presence," said Batara.
The Army also captured one M16 rifle, one anti-personnel mine, medicines, backpacks, a scope, kitchen utensils, and voluminous subversive documents with high intelligence value.
A soldier was slightly wounded on his legs during the encounter, but he is now in stable condition.
An hour before the encounter in Ongyod, a Citizen Armed Forces Geographical Unit (Cafgu) detachment in Barangay Dagami, Maasin town was harassed by the CPP-NPA.
This is the second armed engagement between the Hunter Battalion and the CPP-NPA group believed to be under Suyak Platoon, Southern Front, Komiteng Rehiyon Panay led by Joven Ceralvo, also known as "Lex," in the barangay.
Last September 20, two communist-terrorists were also believed to have been wounded in another firefight with troops.
Major General Dinoh Dolina, commander of the Army's 3rd Infantry (Spearhead) Division based in Camp Peralta in Jamindan, Capiz, called on the NPA group to look into the welfare of their wounded comrades.
"Don't leave them. They are also Filipinos. Surrender them to the government for them to avail proper medical attention. Your Army will be happy to accept and help your injured companions," said Dolina.
"The Army will continue to pursue the CPP-NPA terrorists. You cannot win the war against the government forces. Many of your comrades died and wasted their lives in pursuing senseless and bloody armed struggle. While you still have time, better surrender now or suffer the same fate," Dolina added.
The military encouraged other civilians to report any untoward activities in their communities and contact the government forces immediately if they notice the presence of CPP-NPA rebels in the area.
On January 8, 2019, the Council of the European Union, through Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) decision 2019/25, listed the CPP-NPA as terrorist group.
The CFSP is the organization that agrees on the foreign policy of the European Union for mainly security and defense, diplomacy, and actions. (SunStar Philippines)