ARMY officials on Wednesday, December 1, 2021, confirmed that eight unidentified bodies were found dead after the 61st Infantry Batallion (61IB) and 31st Division Recon Company (31DRC) encountered members of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) in Sitio Burak, Barangay Alimodias, Miag-ao, Iloilo early Wednesday morning, December 1, 2021.

According to the military, information was received that a group of CPP-NPA terrorists believed to be members of Suyak, Sentro de Grabedad (SDG) Platoon, Southern Front (SF)-Panay has been fortifying in the hinterland barangays of Miag-ao to plan their terroristic attacks and extortion activities.

Both the 61IB and 31DRC discovered that the rebel's position was fortified with anti-personnel mines (APM) to secure their hideout.

According to the report from the 301st Infantry (Bayanihan) Brigade of the 3rd Infantry (Spearhead) Division, after the firefight, troops initially discovered eight unidentified bodies, three M16 rifles, one AK47 rifle, four APMs, three detonators, one projector, subversive documents, and assorted personal belongings.

During the encounter, troops requested close-air and field artillery support against NPA rebels.

According to radion reports in the area, witnesses in the village saw a plane believed to be fighter jets before the big explosions.

Brigadier General Marion Sison, commander of 301IB, expressed his gratitude to concerned citizens for providing timely information about the presence of rebels in the area.

"The residents are wary of the NPA's presence in their villages, who according to their accounts, has caused fear to reign in their community for the longest time," Sison said.

“The cooperation of every stakeholder is vital to preventing the terror plans of the CNTs (communist NPA terrorists). We call on CNT members to return to the government fold and stop being used as instruments of terror by their deceptive leaders. Abandon the senseless armed struggle which has victimized innocent civilians. Live a peaceful life together with your families and loved ones,” Sison said.

“As we welcome the Yuletide Season, the importance of family is never more apparent. Umuwi na kayo sa inyong mga tahanan at mamuhay ng mapayapa kasama ang inyong mga mahal sa buhay. Huwag na kayong magpagamit sa mga mapalinlang na mga teroristang NPA. Ang gobyerno ay narito upang matulungan kayo,” Sison said.

It was not stated in the report how long the encounter was, but as of press time, the operation in Sitio Burak, Barangay Alimodias was still ongoing. (SunStar Philippines)