The Eastern Mindanao Command (EastMinCom) reported yesterday that the New People’s Army continues to suffer a setback as skirmishes led to the capture of 68 firearms and 53 landmines, and the death of 15 rebels this year.
Col. Ezra Balagtey, the EastMinCom spokesperson, said soldiers figured in 59 encounters in the different areas of their jurisdiction. In fact, for the past three days, soldiers clashed with Communist guerrillas in two Mindanao provinces.
In the afternoon of March 17, Balagtey said troops from the 28th Infantry Battalion encountered NPA rebels at the periphery of Sitio Washington, Barangay Las Arenas, Pantukan, Compostela Valley.
This came about after the troops received information from the community on the presence of the rebels in the area.
There was no reported casualty on both sides after the NPAs scampered away, while the pursuing troops captured two M16 rifles and one grenade launcher.
Meanwhile, at about 3 p.m of March 15, members of the 3rd Special Forces Battalion encountered an undetermined numbers of NPAs in the outskirts of Sitio Ago, Barangay Magsaysay, Prosperidad, Agusan del Sur.
He said the 10-minute firefight killed an NPA rebel and the capture of one M14 rifle and bandolier with magazines and ammunition.
No relatives or family members claimed the body of the killed NPA rebel.
He was instead buried by the local government unit of Prosperidad, PNP, and the 3rd Special Forces Battalion at the Prosperidad public cemetery.
In his statement, Lt. Gen. Felimon T. Santos Jr., commander of EastMinCom, reminded his units to ensure the protection of communities after the leadership of the Communist Party of the Philippines openly directed the NPAs to intensify its attacks.
“Let us ensure the safety of the communities,” Santos said.