By Francis Wakefield
A Communist New People’s Army (NPA) Communist Terrorist (CNT) responsible in the recent burning of construction equipment in Quezon a week ago was killed in an encounter against government troops in Laguna on Thursday, February 14, 2019.
A military report disclosed that troops of the 1st Infantry Battalion were on patrol when they encountered NPA rebels at Sitio Pinamintian, Barangay San Buenaventura, Luisiana, Laguna.
According to Brigadier General Arnulfo Marcelo Burgos Jr., the Commander of the 202nd Brigade directly supervising the on-going Focused Military Operation (FMO), Thursday’s encounter was the result of the 80th Infantry Battalion and the 2nd Jungle Fighter Company’s (2JFC) pursuit operations in Infanta, Quezon.
He added that the NPA arsonists were forced to withdraw towards the Quezon-Laguna boundary in their attempt to escape troops belonging to the 80th IB, However, soldiers from the 1st IB who were conducting complementary operations were able to intercept them.
While clearing the encounter site, troops also recovered two M16 magazines, two Improvised Explosive Devices (IED), detonators with wires, 10 fixed tents, one tablet, eight cellular phones (two of them smartphones), a Baofeng radio, an NPA terrorists flag, one pack medicines, three bags and other training materials.
No one was hurt on the government side.
The enemy scampered and withdrew toward different directions dragging along their wounded and dead comrades as evidenced by heavy bloodstains in the encounter site.
Several minutes later, the withdrawing NPAs were again intercepted by another group of soldiers of 1IB at Brgy Kalangay, Lucban, Quezon resulting to another 15-minute firefight.
Lt. Col. Jonathan S. Manio, Battalion Commander of the 1st IB, said that “all available troops including K9 dogs and the local police are now conducting hot pursuit operations.”
He also added “per informant’s revelation there were two female CNTs wounded in the first encounter”.
Major General Rhoderick M. Parayno, the Commander of the Philippine Army’s 2nd Infantry Division, lauded the latest accomplishments of the troops against the NPA terrorists responsible for the arson in Quezon.
“We will show the NPAs that their anti people activities will not pass unpunished. They have lost the trust and support of the people. Information received by our intelligence operatives pointed their hideout. We are not ruthless. I’m offering them refuge. If they want to be with their families and live peaceful, normal and productive lives, we will welcome them to just return to the fold of the law. I guarantee their safety and I’ll make sure that they receive all the benefits due them offered by the government,” Parayno said.
Parayno said government troops are continuing their ongoing pursuit operations against the terrorists. Checkpoints are also being established in the area.
Meanwhile, the Local Chiefs Executive of Infanta and General Nakar towns of Quezon Province condemned the burning of construction equipment perpetrated by the NPAs.
Mayor Filipina Grace America of Infanta was quoted as saying that this act of terror perpetrated by the NPAs is not the proper way to address the issues surrounding the project.
She added that, in coordination with the Municipal Council, the local government is looking at the possibility of declaring the NPAs as persona non grata.
Relatedly, Mayor Eliseo Ruzol of Gen Nakar condemned the arson, saying that the incident will lead to their constituents losing the jobs that they need to support their families.”
Today’s series of encounters is considered as a punitive action against the NPA arsonists whose attacks to civilians and their properties are expected to cause delay in the ongoing road-widening project necessary for the construction of Kaliwa Dam, one of the government’s flagship projects which will bring development and provide livelihood for the people in the area.