ZAMBOANGA CITY – A New People’s Army (NPA) fighter was killed in a clash between rebels and military forces in a remote sitio in Kalawit town, Zamboanga del Norte on Friday, July 10.
According to Lt. Col. Don Templonuevo, commander of the 44th Infantry Battalion (44th IB), combined elements of the 44th IB, 97th Infantry Battalion and 42nd Infantry Battalion were on foot patrol when they chanced upon 40 fully armed NPAs in Purok 5, Barangay Batayan in Kalawit town at around 5 p.m.
A firefight ensued, lasting for 45 minutes, before the terrorists fled in different directions, Templonuevo said.
After the encounter, the military recovered the body of the slain NPA, and two high powered firearms – an M16 and an AK47 assault rifles.
According to Templonuevo the soldiers also saw blood stains at the encounter site and withdrawal route of the enemies, bolstering their suspicion that many of their enemies were wounded during the encounter.
Meanwhile, 102nd Infantry Brigade Commander Col Leonel M Nicolas urged those who fled to return to the fold of law, and live a normal life again.
“The people of Zamboanga del Norte are now in unison in their resolve that all Communist terrorists are no longer accepted in their ancestral domains, lands and communities through declarations of persona non grata,” Nicolas said.
“It is now the right time for you to follow the footsteps of your comrades who are enjoying the benefits of the programs laid by the government for those who wish to surrender and be re-integrated to the mainstream of the society,” Nicolas added.
For his part, Maj. Gen. Generoso Ponio, commander of the First Infantry Division, lauded the troops of 102nd Brigade.
“I commend the troops for another significant blow to the Communist terrorists that will definitely demoralize their ranks and hopefully lead to the abandonment of this armed struggle,” Ponio said.
“The Tabak Division will continue with its pursuit against these CTGs as we sustain our partnership with our stakeholders through the Local Task Force to End Local Communists Armed Conflict (LTF-ELCAC) for the implementation of developmental projects in conflict-affected areas in Region 9,” Ponio added.