TWO government troopers were wounded in another encounter that broke out between the security forces and the New People’s Army on Saturday morning, December 30.
Captain Jerry Lamosao, Philippine Army’s 10th Infantry Division (ID) Division Public Affairs Office (DPAO) chief, said the troops encountered about 50 communist terrorists at 6:25 a.m. Saturday in Barangay Tubaon, Tarragona, Davao Oriental.
“The troops are advancing to the enemy position in response to the reports that NPAs are harassing civilians and warning them not to tell their location. They continue to intimidate and threaten some of the residents,” Lamosao said.
Based on the reports they received, the area was used by the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) to celebrate its 49th founding anniversary last December 26 together with the residents there who were forced to join them.
The clash occurred when government troops responded to reports from the community.
“As the troops drew nearer to the reported location of the terrorists, they (CTs) fired (at) the troops and detonated a landmine. Immediately, the soldiers maneuvered to a safe and advantage position then returned fire. The enemy withdrew to different directions after 30 minutes of firefight,” Lamosao said.
He said there were casualties among the enemy as evidenced by bloodstains seen at the encounter site.
A hot pursuit operation was conducted while the wounded personnel were evacuated for treatment.
Major General Noel S. Clement, 10ID commander, slammed the NPA over reports that the residents were forced to participate in its activities.
He called on the public to resist the communist propaganda.
“The NPAs grossly, again and again, violated the ceasefire they have declared. It is aggravating then that they brought along with them innocent civilians and the children,” he said.
"10ID is calling on the people not to be deceived by this terrorist group. Our units are in pursuit now in order to prevent the enemy's planned activities and further atrocities," Clement added.
The government and the NPA have separately declared unilateral ceasefires during the holidays. The encounter, however, occurred several hours before the ceasefire set for the New Year weekend.
The government ceasefire takes effect from 6 p.m. of December 30 to 11:59 p.m. of January 2, 2018.
The NPA ceasefire also falls on the same dates, but will last only until 6 p.m. of January 2. (Juliet C. Revita)