An encounter between government soldiers and New People’s Army (NPA) rebels in Malaybalay City, Bukidnon resulted in the death of a guerrilla, the military said Friday.
In a statement, the Army’s 4th Infantry Division (ID) said troopers from the 1st Special Forces Battalion (1SFBn) clashed with about seven rebels in Barangay Imbayao, Malaybalay City on April 18.
The encounter resulted in the death of a certain Darren Jane Tilucan and the seizure of two M16 rifles.
Maj. Gen. Wilbur C. Mamawag, the 4ID commander, said the NPA fighters are “splintered elements” from the North-Central Mindanao Regional Command who came from the hinterlands of Lanao del Sur.
Mamawag said the rebels tried to cross over towards Bukidnon in the Northern Mindanao region, for safety.
According to Mamawag, the NPA fighters had scampered for safety following an earlier encounter against soldiers in Barangay Tikalaan in Talakag town, Bukidnon, on April 6, which resulted in the death of four NPA leaders and the seizure of 16 high-powered firearms.
Meanwhile, troops from the Army’s 75th Infantry Battalion recovered seven high-powered firearms from the NPA’s arms cache in Barangay Caras-an, Tago, Surigao del Sur, in Caraga Region on April 19.
A tip-off from a resident led to the successful retrieval operations, which yielded seven AK-47 rifles and 17 pieces of magazines.
For this month alone, the Joint Task Force Diamond said it managed to recover 33 firearms and “neutralized” 16 NPA fighters through surrender, arrest, and encounters in its area of operation both in the Northern Mindanao and Caraga regions.
“We will continue to hunt them down and collect their firearms faster than they could hide,” assured Mamawag, also the concurrent commander of the Joint Task Force Diamond.
The Communist Party of the Philippines-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines.
The Anti-Terrorism Council has also formally designated the National Democratic Front as a terrorist organization on June 23, 2021, citing it as “an integral and inseparable part” of the CPP-NPA that was created in April 1973.