BUTUAN CITY – Government troops clashed with a band of New People’s Army rebels collecting revolutionary taxes in the hinterlands of Barangay San Juan, Balingasag, Misamis Oriental Wednesday.
1st Lt. Jefferson Mariano, Civil Military Operations (CMO) officer of 58th Infantry (Dimalulupig) Battalion (58th IB), said residents informed them that a group of NPA rebels are forcibly collecting revolutionary taxes and food and threatened them if they don’t give these.
Troops from the 58th IB were dispatched to the area to act on the complaint and encountered the rebels, triggering a gunfight at around 7:15 a.m.
The firefight lasted for about 15 minutes and the NPA fled after realizing they were outgunned, outnumbered, and outpositioned, Mariano said.
Mariano said war materials were found in the encounter site.
“Our operating troops recovered in the encounter site one AR18 rifle, one long magazine for M16, four short magazines for M16, 50 rounds live ammunition for M16, 15 rounds of live ammunition for AK47 rifle, two cellphones, one flash drive, assorted medical paraphernalia, and subversive documents with high intelligence value,” Mariano added.
Nobody was killed or wounded on both sides.
Lt. Col. Rocky Cantoy, 58th IB commanding officer said:
“The encounter is a result of the continuous effort and active steps to thwart enemy activities.”
He urged the NPA to surrender.
“We call on the remaining members of CNTs to lay down their arms and live a peaceful and normal life, and to avoid unnecessary waste of life.”
“However, the Army will not hesitate and is always ready to use its force against peace spoilers and other threat groups who will continue to use terrorism,” he warned.
Canatoy thanked residents for cooperating with the government.