TROOPS SEIZE NPA WEAPONS IN CENTRAL NEGROS CLASH SITE
The firearms, ammunition and other weapons as well as personal items recovered by troopers of the Philippine Army’s 15th Infantry Battalion after their encounter with communist rebels in Mabinay, Negros Oriental on Friday afternoon (Feb. 8, 2019). (Photo courtesy of 15th Infantry Battalion, Philippine Army)
BACOLOD CITY — Troopers of the Philippine Army’s 15th Infantry Battalion (IB) recovered weapons left behind by New People’s Army (NPA) rebels after an encounter in Mabinay, Negros Oriental on Friday afternoon.
Items found included an M16 rifle, 11 firearm magazines, some ammunition, a rifle grenade, an anti-personnel mine, a hand-held radio, subversive documents, food items, and personal belongings, such as clothes, several pairs of boots and slippers.
Lt. Col. Patricio Tomales, commanding officer of 15th IB headquartered in Cauayan, Negros Occidental, said in a statement on Friday night their troops responded to reports from residents of Sitio Baliw in Barangay Bagtic that the rebels were extorting rice and money from them.
At 1:30 p.m., soldiers of the Alpha Company engaged in a 30-minute firefight with the rebels, who fled after the encounter.
These troopers were among those who fought during the five-month Marawi siege before their deployment to Negros Island, Tomales said.
Mabinay town, situated at the boundary of Negros Oriental and Negros Occidental, is included in the coverage area of the southern Negros based 15th IB.
Tomales thanked the residents for providing their troops timely information on the presence of the rebels in their community.
“This proves the Communist Party of the Philippines – New People’s Army terrorist is losing hold of their masses and the people are already fed up with their lies and terror,” he added.
Tomales said information on the sightings or extortion activities of the NPA rebels can be reported to the 15th IB’s hotline number (0945) 5045757.
Capt. Eduardo Precioso, spokesperson of the 3rd Infantry Division, on Saturday echoed Tomales’ statement that the communist rebels have lost mass base support.
Precioso lauded the residents for their continued support to the anti-insurgency operations of government troops.
“Your bravery to stand with the government in implementing peace and order is of great help,” he added.
Both the United States and the European Union have declared the CPP-NPA as a terrorist group. (PNA)