2 NPAs dead in Surigao Norte clash

Two New People’s Army (NPA) combatants were found dead following a predawn clash with government forces in the Surigao del Norte town of Bacuag on Friday (Jan. 25).

Lt. Ken Enciso, civil-military officer of the Army’s 30th Infantry Battalion, said the firefight ensued at around 4 a.m. after the troops encountered about 30 rebels while conducting security operations in Sitio Little Baguio, Barangay Payapag.

Enciso said the troops scoured the area after a resident reported the presence NPA rebels belonging to the Guerilla Front 16.

After the clash that lasted for over an hour, Enciso said the troops recovered the bodies of two NPA members–a male and a female in their 20s.

“More of them are believed to be wounded in the clash as blood stains were visible in the withdrawal route,” Enciso said.

The bodies were turned over to village officials and police personnel for proper disposition and identification, the Army official said.

Lt. Col. Allen Raymund Tomas, 30IB commander, extended the Army’s “deepest sympathies to the families of the dead NPA terrorists.”

“It is tragic that up to this moment, there are still people who are blinded by the failed ideology of these terrorists,” Tomas added.

Enciso said the troops also seized an NPA lair that can accommodate 50 people and recovered high-power firearms, ammunition, a landmine and other bomb-making materials, as well as medicines and subversive documents.

Maj. General Ronald Villanueva, commander of the Army’s 4th Infantry Division, said the troops “have never stopped going after the NPA terrorists in our area of responsibility.”

“We have not declared any suspension of operations even during last holiday season, we are determined to end the deception and terrorism brought by CPP–NPA-NDF in the communities,” Villanueva said, referring to the NPA’s mother organization, the Communist Party of the Philippines, and its political wing, the National Democratic Front.

The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States and the European Union.

Villanueva called on the rebels “go back to the folds of the law and return to the mainstream society. They can still avail of the Enhanced Comprehensive Integration Program (ECLIP) being offered by the government.” (PNA)