Army overruns NPA camp in Ifugao, seizes high-powered firearms

The Philippine Army’s 54th Infantry Magilas Battalion overran a New People’s Army (NPA) camp at Sitio Lab-ong, Barangay Namal in Asipulo, Ifugao, the Public Affairs Office of the 5th Infantry Division told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) on Thursday.

Captain Jefferson Somera, 5ID PAO chief, said the operation was carried out around 7 a.m. on Wednesday. He said several high-powered firearms and subversive items were recovered from the site.

“The operations resulted in the recovery of one K3-Squad automatic weapon, three M16 rifles, M203 grenade launcher, five improvised explosive devices (IED), cellular phones, 27 blasting caps, two detonators, three NPA flags, generator set, subversive documents, and food stuff,” Somera said.

He said the operation was successful without any casualty from the government troops. The Armed Forces of the Philippines has yet to determine whether the enemy side suffered casualties.

The recovered war materials are in the custody of the 54IB for safekeeping, while more troops were sent to track the rebels.

Somera relayed the report of 54IB commander Lt. Col. Narciso Nabulneg Jr. that the camp was discovered based on information from the community.

“The operation was launched through the information given by the civilians in the area, wherein the NPAs were busy extorting goods and foodstuff from the masses in preparation for their grand activity next month. This scheme irates the masses, who hardly meet their everyday needs,” Nabulneg said in his report to the 5ID.

Somera said 5ID commander MGen. Perfecto Rimando Jr. credited the success of the operations to the overwhelming support given by the masses to the soldiers.

“In due time, we will reward those people behind the seizure of the CNT (CPP-NPA-Terrorists) camp and the recovery of war materiel. We owe everything to the people, who provided the information to our operating troops,” Rimando said.

Somera reiterated Rimando’s encouragement to the rebels that the government continues to offer the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) to those who are still on the mountains to abandon the armed struggle and live normal lives with their families.

“We will continue our mandate to protect the rights of the people against the CNTs, as we also give second chances to those who wish to yield to the fold of the law,” Rimando added.

On the same day, four members of the NPA surrendered to the same unit.

“Ka Iyong,” who serves as squad leader of Squad Uno of the Nona del Rosario Command and “Ka Cindy,” a teenager, who belongs to the same group, surrendered to the operating troops.

“Ka Rambo” and “Ka Hadji” surrendered to the 54IB at their camp in Kiangan, Ifugao after the successful operation to overrun the NPA camp.

They surrendered two hand grenades, one rifle grenade, two long and three short magazines with 66 ammunition, one M16 rifle, and one Garand rifle.

Brigadier General Leopoldo Imbang Jr., commander of the 503 Infantry Brigade, commended the troops of the 54IB for their professionalism in carrying out their mission.

“I commend the officers and men of 54IB behind the success of the operations leading to the seizure of the NPA camp, surrender of four NPA rebels and the recovery of war materiel. We hope that peace will soon be achieved in that area with the neutralization of the communist terrorists,” Imbang said. (PNA/Liza Agoot)