An alleged high-ranking communist fighter was killed in a clash with the troops of the 3rd Infantry Battalion in Damulog, Bukidnon on Friday afternoon.
Lt. Col. Oscar Partuza, commanding officer of the 3rd IB, identified the fatality as Eduardo Arnado alias Choi, deputy secretary of the Guerrilla Front 53 who allegedly led the group’s extortion activities in North Cotabato and Bukidnon.
Joint troops of the 3rd and 19th infantry battalions were conducting security patrol in the said area based on the tip from a local resident about the presence of a heavily armed group in a remote area in Sitio Lamparuc, Barangay Sampagar, Damulog.
Upon reaching the area at 2:30 p.m., the troops caught up with the group of 10 NPA members, which led to a 10-minute firefight. The rebels scattered, leaving behind their belongings and the body of Arnado.
Recovered from the encounter site were one .45 caliber pistol with magazine and ammunition, spent shells from various high-powered firearms, subversive documents, and personal belongings.
No one has claimed the body of Arnado as of this report.
No civilians were hurt during the encounter and residents were assured by the troops in a dialogue that the area is already safe.
Damulog Mayor Melino Buro immediately visited the residents to check on the well-being of the residents.
Col. Nolasco A. Mempin, commander of the 1003rd Infantry Brigade, commended the troops involved in the operation.
“ The Army will continue to be the protector of the people against NPAs or the organized crime group,” Mempin said.