CAMP BANCASI, Butuan City – Government security forces neutralized three New People’s Army (NPA) rebels, and seized several high powered firearms at a Communist insurgents’ hideout in the hinterland area of Pangi, in Tandag City, Surigao del Sur province.
Maj. Rodolfo S. Cordero, Jr., chief of the Public Affairs Office (PAO) of the Fourth Infantry Division (4th ID), told The Manila Bulletin on Tuesday afternoon that troops of the 36th Infantry Battalion (36th IB), under the command of Lt. Col. Jezreel Diagmel, were still pursuing withdrawing NPA terrorists in the hinterlands of Pangi towards the Diwata Ranges in the provincial border of Surigao del Sur and Agusan del Sur.
The rebels, who were being pursued by the 36th IB troops, were members of Platoon 1, Guerilla Front 30 of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP)-NPA North Eastern Mindanao Regional Committee under a certain Commander Nicko, the 4th ID PAO chief said.
The 36th IB troops also killed rebels during the almost one-hour fierce fire fight at the enemy hide out, Cordero said.
The government troops also seized three M16 Armalite rifles, two of which were attached with M203 Grenade Launchers, an AK47 rifle, two cal. 22 rifles, and assorted live ammunitions.
Operating troops also seized in the encounter site several personal belongings and anti-government documents
A platoon of 36th IB troops responded to the report that more or less 40 CNTs were conducting extortion activity in the hinter areas of Pangi when they encountered the armed group on Saturday, October 31.
“While proceeding to the reported location of the terrorists, our soldiers were able to locate their hideout at the mountainous areas of Pangi at around 1 p.m., and the firefight broke out when the enemy fired towards our operating troops prompting them to return fire,” said Diagmel added.
Meanwhile, Maj. Gen. Andres C. Centino, commanding general of the of the 4th ID and Joint Task Force Diamond, said that the Communist terrorists in Caraga region were now extorting money even from farmers and small business owners because they could hardly sustain their forces due to the massive Focused Military Operations (FMOs) of the AFP in the region.
“Our forces will continue to pursue these bandits until they stop their extortion and atrocities or they surrender to the government,” he said.
“This is the only way to defeat them. Without resources they will not be able to survive,” Centino added.