BAGGAO, Cagayan — Army troops engaged around 20 members of Communist Terrorist during the conduct of strike operation at the vicinity of Sitio Sacat, Asinga-Via, Baggao, Cagayan Wednesday.
The firefight lasted for about 30 minutes and saw the rebels scamper to different directions.
Baggao Police reported that there were no casualties on the government side. It was also not known whether there was any casualty on the rebels’ side, although the police recovered one assault rifle (M16) at the site of the encounter.
Prior to the encounter, the troops were conducting combat operations to check the presence of the CNTs in the said place based on the revelation made by concerned citizens.
Cagayan Provincial Police Office reported that CNTs numbering more or less 20 belong to the East Front Committee, Komiteng Probinsya Cagayan, Komiteng Rehiyon-Cagayan Valley.
Meanwhile, Lt. Col. Magtangol Panopio, Battalion Commander of 77th Infantry Brigade said that they alerted and deployed composite teams from their unit to intercept the fleeing rebels.
“We are still scouring the encounter site and will conduct pursuit operations to ensure the safety of the residents against the atrocities of the CNTs,” said Lt. Col. Panopio.
Panopio also clarified that the armed encounter was not election-related.
Nearby hospitals were also inspected for the possible presence of wounded persons from the enemy side.
Major Gen. Laurence E. Mina, Commander of the Philippine Army’s 5th Infantry Division, expressed gratitude to residents for providing information to the troops on the presence of the CNTs.
He appealed to locals to be more vigilant and alert in reporting to prevent the CNTs.
“Let us all stand against the abuses and terrorist acts of the CNTs. We will finish them off with everybody’s support,” said Maj. Gen Mina.