By Armando Fenequito Jr. and Mike Crismundo
DAVAO CITY – A firefight between soldiers of the 39th Infantry Battalion (39IB) and New People’s Army (NPA) broke out in Sta. Cruz, Davao del Sur in the morning of Christmas day.
In its report, the military said the encounter happened at Barangay Sibulan at around 9 a.m. when soldiers rushed to the area to respond to information provided by locals, alerting them of the presence of Communist rebels in the area.
Upon reaching the area, the troops were reportedly fired upon by the NPA terrorists, who were already in ambush position while their other cohorts were setting up shanties and a stage for the supposed 50th Anniversary of the rebel group on December 26.
The report said the encounter forced the NPA to leave their encampment that could accommodate about 30 fighters.
Responding troops discovered combat equipment and valuable documents left behind by the rebels.
Lt. Col. Rhojun Rosales, 39th IB commander, said they have been on high alert to thwart any offensive atrocities that the rebels could be planning as part of their “show of force” on their 50th anniversary.
“We are keeping the pressure for them to surrender and live peacefully with their love ones specially this Christmas Day.” Rosales said.
Meanwhile, troops in Surigao del Sur discovered war materiel and documents with high intelligence value in Sitio Kiskis, Barangay Siagao in San Miguel town last Saturday.
A tip from a villager in Siagao area led 36th Infantry Battalion (36th IB) troops to a supply stash belonging to the rebels, the 36th IB CMO officer said.
The 36th IB troops found the supply cache buried in a cave after a villager informed the military of its location, he said.
“The discovery of the said important documents and CPP-NPA materials came about after a tip coming from concern villagers in Kiskis area,” stressed the 36th IB CMO officer.