AT LEAST two suspected communist rebels were killed in a series of clashes between government soldiers and the New People's Army (NPA) members somewhere in the boundary of Misamis Oriental and Bukidnon.
In a statement, the military said troops from the 65th Infantry Battalion and 1st Special Forces Battalion under the 403rd Infantry Brigade encountered about 30 NPA guerillas at 1:30 p.m., 3:15 p.m. and 4:20 p.m. last Friday, March 30, in Barangay Minalwang, Claveria, Misamis Oriental.
The successive gun battles resulted in the death of an unidentified NPA combatant and confiscation of several high-powered guns that include an M16, M14, and AK-47 rifles, ammunition, bomb components, subversive documents and personal belongings.
Another suspected communist rebel was found dead and more firearms were seized in another encounter on Saturday, March 31. This, after the 43rd Division Reconnaissance Company engaged with some 30 Maoist guerillas in the same site.
The military said the two-day running gun battle may have incurred more injuries to the enemy's side, as globs of blood were seen along the withdrawal routes of the NPA rebels.
Brigadier General Eric Vinoya, 403rd commander, said: "We offer our sincere condolences to the families and relatives on the death of the NPA terrorists. This could not have happened if they heeded our call of surrender. Hence, I once again call upon the CPP-NPA terrorists especially those who were wounded in the recent encounters with our troops to come down, we will help you seek proper medical attention along with our local officials and return to the mainstream society."
The 403rd brigade launched wide-scale operations in relation to the just concluded 49th NPA anniversary.
The military said the series of military operations is also in response to the numerous information and complaints of the community against alleged extortion, foraging, and intimidation allegedly perpetrated by the communist rebels.
"What good does New People's Army has to celebrate in its 49th anniversary? Yes, it is a celebration of murders, arson, extortion, and exploitation to fellow Filipinos. We are thankful of the populace that have realized that there is no sense in supporting the failed armed struggle, those local government officials who are doing their mandate of protecting their constituents from NPA terrorists' exploitation and the former NPAs that heeded to our call of surrender. You are the reason the NPA terrorist's current degrading number," Major General Ronald Villanueva, commander of the 4th Infantry Division, said.