A HIGH-RANKING communist rebel was killed after a failed attempt to burn down a newly constructed DepEd IP school that will replace the Tribal Filipino Program in Surigao del Sur (TRIFPSS) school in Sitio Simuwao, Diatagon, Lianga.
The TRIFPSS has been accused by the military as being associated with the Communist Party of the Philippines-National Democratic Front.
He was identified as Marcelino Tampos Navarro, the deputy secretary and head of education and propaganda of the North Eastern Mindanao Regional Committee.
1Lt. Krisjuper Andreo Punsalan, the civil-military operations officer of the 3rd Special Forces Battalion, said another body was found at the encounter site but they are still verifying its identity.
The soldiers also recovered two AK-47 rifles, ammunition, anti-personnel mines, bomb-making materials, one portable generator, assorted medical supplies, laptops, cellphones, and handheld radio at the scene.
“We have intensified our security operations in the said area after receiving successive reports from the IP communities that a large group of (NPAs) are intruding inside their ancestral domains and threatening them,” Brig. Gen. Allan D. Hambala, 401st Infantry Brigade commander, said.
He said that the NPAs have killed four members of the tribe since July 6, 2020.
“Moreover, the NPAs even planned on burning down the newly built DepEd’s IP School at Sitio Simuwao,” Hambala said.
The Department of Education and the local government unit have constructed IP schools to replace the ones operated by the Tribal Filipino Program in Surigao del Sur (TRIFPSS) in Sitio Simuwao (Km 9), Diatagon, Lianga.
The local government unit and the Municipal Disaster Risk Management Office have coordinated with the IP leaders and barangay officials on the delivery of basic and social services for the temporary evacuation of conflict-affected communities Barangay Diatagon.
Presently, the Lianga LGU already provided relief goods through the Datu Dalong, the Diatagon tribal chieftain.
Recently, the Lianga town and the tribal council expressed support for the combat operations to confront the NPA as part of the effort to end the local communist armed conflict in Andap Valley.
On the other hand, Lianga and San Miguel IPMRs Datu Jumar S. Bucales and Datu Rico Maca condemned the Save our Schools Caraga and Sinag, believed to be CNT-linked front organizations, for spreading lies against the military and government.
They said the NPA’s “allied organization” is seeking to cause alarm in the communities and help the “fleeing armed groups” escape. The joint statement said the NPA “suffered a great loss to include their leadership since the start of the intensified military operation in the area.”
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