Army, NPA clash anew in Bukidnon

A SOLDIER is in critical condition after an encounter with suspected New People's Army (NPA) rebels in a remote area in Bukidnon Monday evening, February 19.

First Lieutenant Erwin Bugarin, civil-military operations officer of the 8th Infantry Battalion (8IB), said 9 of their soldiers were patrolling in between the boundaries of Cabanglasan town and Malaybalay City at about 8:30 pm when they encountered 5 communist insurgents.

Bugarin said the wounded soldier, whom he refused to identify, was hit in the head. The firefight lasted for about 10 minutes.

"We regularly conduct patrolling if and when there is a threat in the area, and even if there is no threat we do it to keep the community nearby safe," Bugarin said.

The soldier is still under observation at the Camp Evangelista Station Hospital, Cagayan de Oro.

Bugarin said they are conducting pursuit operations against the communist rebels.

"We still don't have evidence that proved there was casualty or wounded in the NPA side," he said.

Bugarin admitted that troops are more aggressive now following President Rodrigo Duterte's pronouncements to intensify the crackdown against the NPA, calling them "terrorists."

He added that they will also charge sympathizers found to be aiding the NPA.

"We have always been aggressive, but we are more aggressive now because it is the orders of our commander-in-chief, we should act on it accordingly," he said
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