GOVERNMENT forces overran a New People’s Army (NPA) camp in Sitio Mahayag, Brgy Old Bulatukan, Makilala, North Cotabato last Friday, November 3, after a firefight that lasted for an hour.

Philippine Army’s 10th Infantry Division (ID) Division Public Affairs Office (DPAO) chief Captain Jerry Lamosao said in a statement posted on their Facebook page on Sunday, November 5 that the 39th Infantry Battalion (IB) based in Makilala had an encounter with the rebels during a hot pursuit operation last November 3.

The troops first received a series of reports from concerned citizens on the presence of armed men in their area, allegedly extorting from residents and recruiting the youths. Troops from 39th IB were then dispatched by its commander, Lieutenant Colonel Harold M. Argamosa, to the said area.

The Makilala area is covered by the Guerilla Front (GF) 51 under alias Mackoy/Greg, which is accused of extortion from businessmen involving the burning of trucks/buses; assassination of local officials; kidnapping; depriving civilian rights; continuous exploitation; and harassment.

Lamosa added that while the troops were getting close to the area, an undetermined number of fully armed men peppered them with bullets.

“Upon the approaching of the troops, this prompted them (rebels) to immediately maneuver, occupy a more vantage position, and delivered suppressive fires toward enemy position,” the statement from the 10th ID said.

Sensing the “multitude of enemy strength of GF 51,” the troops requested for Close Air Support (CAS) and fire support to maintain the combat initiative against the enemy.

Another Platoon was also inserted for hot pursuit or clearing operation along possible enemy withdrawal or routes. The firefight lasted for almost an hour.

The operation resulted to the recovery of one M4 carbine, one M16 rifle, personal belongings, backpacks, voluminous subversive documents and overrun the NPA camp that can accommodate more or less 70- 80 NPAs.

There was no casualty from the government forces.

Troops vowed to continue with their offensive operations against the reds who are posing threats in the communities to win peace and protect the civilians.

Major General Noel S. Clement, AFP Commander of the 10th ID, thanked the citizens for reporting to the authorities on the existence of rebels in the area while calling on again these rebels to lay down their arms and surrender to the authorities.

"We are grateful to the residents of Makilala who are concerned and reported the presence of NPAs in their area. Sad to say, that some people joined the NPA and took arms against the government due to some promises of insurgent leaders. For now, it is high time to convince our brothers- NPA to go back to the fold of the law and think of their families and the future of their children," he added.