By Francis Wakefield
Troops under the 15th Infantry Battalion (15th IB), who were conducting Community Support Programs, encountered Communist New People’s Army (NPA) rebels in Negros Oriental over the weekend.
A military report disclosed that the troops were in Sitio Baliw, Brgy Bagtic, Mabinay town when they encountered a still undetermined number of terrorists at about 1:30 p.m. Friday, February 8.
Following the encounter, the soldiers were able to seize firearm, explosives, war materials, and subversive documents left behind by the fleeing rebels.
There was no report of casualty on both sides.
However, the blood stains along the enemy’s withdrawal route suggested that some of its fighters may have suffered gunshot wounds during the firefight.
Prior to the encounter, a concerned citizen already informed the soldiers about the enemy’s terroristic plan to disrupt the programs that were being intended by the people in that community.
Officials from the 15th IB immediately ordered troops to launch a deliberate action to preempt the sinister plan.
“We were able to hit the enemy for about 30 minutes and later pushed them out of the encounter site recovering several items such as one M16 rifle with 11 magazines, one Anti-Personnel Mine, one rifle grenade, one commercial radio, personal belongings, and subversive documents,” Lt. Col. Tornales, the commanding officer of the 15th IB, said.
Brig. Gen. Ignacio B. Madriaga, the brigade commander, said the encounter was the result of the continuing coordinative effort of the populace who had grown weary of the NPA menace and the unrelenting commitment of your army troops to protect the community from the NPA terrorists.
“This event is a clear manifestation that the locals are no longer afraid of the NPA terrorist group,” he said.
For his part, Lt Gen Noel Clement, the Commander of Central Command, emphasized the motivation of the soldiers who managed to quell the plans of these terrorists.
“This victory is a testimony to the courage, coupled with strong determination, of our troops who are helping the Local Government Units ensure full implementation of programs that will alleviate the socio-economic problem affecting their localities,” Clement said.
“The evil plan, however, is a solid proof of NPA’s anti-development stance to keep the people drenched in poverty. Their pathetic move didn’t work this time. The people, to whom we dedicate our service, are now actively reporting the enemy’s presence and activities in their barangays. We are happy that they fully understand and support the government’s peace and development initiatives,” he added.