CAMP NAKAR, Quezon – Soldiers, who were on their way to a humanitarian mission due to typhoon “Ulysses, were blocked and engaged in a 50-minute encounter by a band of New People’s Army (NPA) terrorists in Macalelon, Quezon on Thursday, November 12.
Soldiers from the Army’s 85th Infantry Battalion (85th IB) engaged about 20 rebels under the Southern Tagalog Regional Party Committee (STRPC) Platoon Sol and Japson, led by a certain Mitch. They were reportedly trying to extort from the residents of Barangay Lahing in Macalelon town.
The troopers were supposed to augment other ground forces for a Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Response (HADR) mission when they encountered the rebels.
Brig. Gen. Norwyn Romeo Tolentino, commander of the 201st Infantry Brigade (201st IB), reported that the soldiers recovered an improvised explosive device (IED), four magazines, a bandolier, and various enemy war paraphernalia that was left by the scampering terrorist.
“There was no casualty recorded on the part of the security forces, while the casualty count among the NPAs is being validated by the troops who are still conducting pursuit operations,” he added.
Maj. Gen. Greg Almerol, head of the Army’s Second Division, ordered his troops not to lower their guard even while conducting humanitarian activities as calamities could be an opportunity for the NPA terrorists to further their plans in terrorizing our people.
“No words will ever be enough to express our disgust over the NPA’s unacceptable act in threatening the communities and endangering their lives instead of joining the government’s cause in helping the people amid the devastation brought about by Typhoon Ulysses,” he said.
Almerol recalled several circumstances when government forces, who were delivering services in response to various crises, were waylaid by these ragtag band of opportunists.
Almerol added that there were 702 soldiers and 91 military trucks across Southern Tagalog that were placed on high alert for HADR missions in areas greatly affected by the devastation of Ulysses, most especially in the areas of Rodriguez and Tanay, among others.