SOLDIERS PURSUE FLEEING REBELS IN SAMAR
The new Army battalion in Samar Island formed to fight terrorists such as the New People’s Army. (Photo courtesy of Philippine Army)
TACLOBAN CITY — Government troops continue to track down members of the New People’s Army (NPA) involved in two clashes with soldiers in the towns of Basey and Pinabacdao, Samar province early this week.
“We already tracked them down and we will not stop running after them for the welfare of our people,” said Maj. Gen. Raul Farnacio, commander of the Philippine Army’s 8th Infantry division, in a statement issued Wednesday.
On Sunday, troops from the Army’s 87th Infantry Battalion clashed with communist rebels in Manlilinab village in Basey town. The military operation is in response to reports from residents about the presence of an armed group conducting extortion activities in the area.
“This is a clear example that the communities have already recognized the security efforts of the government and the populace now rejects the communist NPA terrorists who are conducting propaganda and extortion in the far-flung villages,” Farnacio added.
Two soldiers were wounded during the five-minute firefight. The military believes that some of the NPAs were also injured as indicated by blood stains “along the way of their escape.”
On Monday, soldiers from the 46th Infantry Battalion had an encounter with rebels in the upland Canlobo village, Pinabacdao town. The military believes that this group of rebels fled from government troops in Basey town.
The troops recovered live ammunitions and empty shells for M16 rifles and a sack of sweet potato. No one from the government side was hurt during the brief clash.
“I am calling on the families, relatives and friends of our misguided brothers to persuade their family members turned NPAs, to return to the mainstream society, to go back to their respective families and feel the warm embrace and comfort of their loving sons and daughters. Encourage them to avail the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program of the government,” Farnacio added.
The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines. (PNA)