LANAO DEL SUR — One member of the communist NPA terrorist (CNT) was killed and three high-powered firearms, 36 sacks of rice, and other war materials were recovered by the Army’s 49th Infantry Battalion after a fifteen-minute gunbattle in Brgy Buntalis, Lumba-Bayabao, Lanao del Sur on Saturday morning, April 25.
Lt. Col. Benjamin Tapnio, commanding officer of 49th Infantry Battalion, said they were checking on a report by residents on the presence of an armed group in the area.
The company that was sent to verify the information out-maneuvered 20 New People’s Army (NPA) terrorists in their suspected lair.
No government trooper was wounded in the firefight and pursuit operations were immediately conducted against the remaining terrorist who also suffered several wounded/injured as shown by the bloodstains in their withdrawal route.
Around 2:40 p.m., the pursuing troops caught up with the retreating terrorists and engaged them in a 3-minute firefight with no reported casualties on both sides.
Col. Jose Maria Cuerpo II, 103rd Infantry Brigade Commander, said these NPA terrorist groups were the ones conducting tactical offensives and ambuscades of government troops engaged in COVID-19 related activities in Bukidnon and the boundary of Lanao del Sur province.
“We’ve already identified their (CNTs) lairs and we call on those who were wounded to lay down their arms peacefully, to have proper medical attention,” he added.
For his part, Major General Gene Ponio, commander of the 1st Infantry (TABAK) Division, lauded the accomplishment of 49th IB and 103rd Infantry Brigade.
He urges the communist NPA to surrender and avail of the government’s Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP).
Ponio also expressed his sympathy to the family and relatives of the NPA terrorist who was killed.
“It is very tragic that he has taken arms against the people of Lanao del Sur when only through peace can development and social justice be achieved”, he said.
Meanwhile, troops of 49IB are in close communication with barangay officials to ensure the safety and security of the residents in the area. (1ID,PA/PIA ICIC)