FOUR “top-ranking leaders” of the communist terrorist group were killed in an encounter with government troops in Bukidnon Wednesday, April 6, the Eastern Mindanao Command (Eastmincom) of the Philippine Army said on Thursday, April 7.

Killed in Barangay Tikalan, Talakag were Carlisio D. Sumalinog, commanding officer (CO) of Sub-Regional Operations Command (SROC); Jovilito T. Pontillas, CO of Sub-Regional Sentro De Grabidad (SRSDG) Company Wei; Gary I. Juliana, CO of Platun Uno, Guerilla Front (GF) 68B; and Jelly A. Sugnot, medical and finance officer of SRSDG Company Wei and medical officer of Platun Ipad.

EastMinCom Lieutenant General Greg Almerol said the four were all members of Sub-Regional Committee (SRC) 4 and 5 of North Central Mindanao Regional Committee (NCMRC).

He said the troops conducted an operation in the area after receiving information from concerned citizens about the presence of some 30 armed men.

Almerol said the death of the four rebels is a big blow to the organization in the region, particularly that it may “dwindle” their forces.

He urged the communist rebels to surrender to the government and mend their ways.

"This will put more pressure on the remaining forces of CTG to yield as they are currently headless. They cannot survive our series of focused military operations without someone to lead them," said Almerol.

"One-by-one, your comrades who chose to stay in the terrorist movement ultimately paid the consequences of their atrocities. But those who yield are now secured and are living peaceful lives with their families," he added.

Recovered from the clash site were 16 high-powered firearms and other war materials, including seven M16 Rifles, an M203 grenade launcher, two R4 carbines, an M653 rifle, three M1 garand rifles, an AK47 rifle, M14 rifle, assorted magazines, ammunition, medicines, bandoliers, backpacks, CTG flags, and other items. (SunStar Philippines)