CAMP GEN. CAPINPIN, Tanay, Rizal -- Joint military and police forces preempted another arson attempt by the New People’s Army (NPA) during their strike operations in Sitio Salok, Barangay Magsaysay in Infanta, Quezon province.
Brig. Gen. Arnulfo Marcelo Burgos Jr., commander of the 202nd Infantry "Unifier" Brigade said government forces encountered an undetermined number of rebels at about 8 a.m. Friday.
Burgos said the 30-minute firefight took place some 3 km. away from the compound of Northern Builders, the Kaliwa Dam project contractor whose equipment were torched by suspected NPA members last February 7.
Kaliwa Dam is one of the 76 ongoing flagship and developmental projects in Region 4-A (Calabarzon).
“The encounter is a result of our continuing operations to punish the enemies of the state who are terrorizing helpless private companies that refuse to give in to the rebels’ extortion activities,” Burgos said.
Initial reports said four government security forces were wounded. The names of the wounded soldiers have been kept under wraps pending notification of their kin.
Casualties were expected among the rebels as bloodstains were traced along their escape route.
Lt. Col. Christopher Diaz, commander of the 80th Infantry Battalion, disclosed that the operation stemmed from a tip that a group of NPA rebels would conduct atrocities in Infanta, specifically the burning of construction equipment belonging to Northern Builders.
He said additional forces have been deployed to pursue the fleeing rebels, who might belong to the same group behind the arson activities in Luisiana, Laguna on Valentine’s Day.
The February 14 encounter has claimed the life of John Carlo Alberto, alias “Damian/Iñigo”, a University of the Philippines - Los Baños student recruited and deceived to join the NPA, tagged by the United States and the European Union as a terrorist group.
Maj. Gen. Rhoderick Parayno, commander of the Philippine Army’s 2nd Infantry “Jungle Fighter” Division expressed gratitude to the Infanta townsfolk for providing information about the rebels' activities.
“This is not only a testament of their trust to their soldiers but a manifestation that they are already tired of the NPA's anti-people and anti-development terroristic actions,” Parayno said. (PNA)