BALO-I, Lanao del Norte (PIA) –The local government of Iligan City together with the 4th Mechanized Infantry Battalion, Bravo Company of 1st CMO Battalion and Iligan Police Mobile Force delivered relief aid to some 120 displaced families from four sitios in Brgy. Mainit, Iligan City following an encounter between the Philippine Army’s troops and members of the New People’s Army on May 27, 2020.
These families, along with 26 other front liners of the barangay, received 12 kilos of rice, assorted canned goods, and noodles. The children also received psychosocial intervention and toys from the army.
They are temporarily staying in two schools, a social hall and a relative’s house while government forces are conducting pursuit and clearing operation.
Lt Col Domingo G Dulay Jr, commander of 4th Mech Bn said that he appreciated the prompt response of Mayor Celso Regencia and Congressman Frederick Siao in addressing the needs of the evacuees especially in this time were COVID-19 pandemic is also affecting the country.
He said, “We did not desire for the clash to occur, however, we have to perform our duty to protect the people after receiving complaints that members of the communist-terrorist group are terrorizing residents to get foodstuff and money.”
During the clash with NPA at Sitio Pudog in Brgy. Mainit, a soldier was wounded after he was hit on his arm which went through his anterior chest wall after the 30-minute firefight. The said soldier is now recovering and in a stable condition in a military hospital in Cagayan de Oro City.
The troops are confident that some NPA members were also wounded in the clash based on bloodstains in the encounter site.
Amidst the COVID 19 pandemic, unscrupulous groups and criminals such as the communist NPA terrorists continue to commit dastardly acts of violence against hapless civilian populace.
On May 28, elements of NPA were also reported burning houses and a church in the neighboring municipality of Opol after being denied of foodstuff. The poor were robbed of their food and belongings and were used as human shields to avoid government humanitarian operations.
BGen Facundo Palafox IV, commander of 2nd Mechanized Infantry Brigade, calls on all local chief executives to support the national government’s fight against these criminals and create an environment inhospitable to them so they can no longer cause harm and grief to the people.
We have suffered a lot, as a people and a nation, because of the threat of these communist NPA terrorists to our freedom and right to live peacefully under a democratic form of government.
“Amidst the COVID 19 pandemic, we all need to help each other. Your army will not waiver nor will we falter in our quest for peace. Despite these cowardly acts, we remain to extend a hand of peace and reconciliation to whoever wants to lay down their arms and come back to the folds of the law,” he said.
He also called on NPA terrorists to surrender and start anew with their families. “To those communist NPA terrorists, your family awaits your return. All you have to do is give up the fight of a futile and lost cause. Armed struggle worldwide is a passé and a thing of the past. The way to reconciliation is communication,” he added.
The government, through the Enhanced Local Integration Program (E-CLIP), has several socio-politico-economic packages for the former rebels who wish to surrender and join the mainstream of society. (4thMech/PIA ICIC)