June 9, 2021 – Determined to serve justice to the Absalon family and victims of the recent Masbate City bombing by communist terrorists, the Army’s 9th Infantry Division and PNP Police Regional Office 5 (PRO-5) conducted extensive and relentless joint pursuit operations yesterday.
Responding to citizens report, the government quick response team swooped down on about 30 communist NPA terrorists (CNTs) were still in Barangay Anas at around 5:30 in the morning in an encounter that claimed the lives of three (3) rebels harvesting three M16 rifles, one M14 rifle, various war materials and terrorist’s propaganda materials.
Intense gun fight lasted for 15 minutes before the rest of the terrorists scampered in all directions to escape.
Two hours later, government troops captured another 12 high-powered firearms comprised of 11 M16 rifles and one M653 rifle hidden in a nipa hut at the boundary of Barangay Anas and Barangay Bolo both of Masbate City left behind by the fleeing terrorists.
On Monday, June 7 the terrorists detonated two more bombs to elude chasing law enforcers. A third unexploded improvised explosive device (IED) was recovered in nearby Barangay Mapiña.
Lt. Col. Siegfried Felipe Awichen, Battalion Commander of the 2nd Infantry Battalion (2IB) attributed this successful operation to the Masbateños who, out of anger over CTG’s recent terror attack, tipped off the location of the communist insurgents.
Col. Aldwine Almase, Brigade Commander of the 903rd Infantry Brigade, on the other hand said, “We will not allow these terrorists to continue killing innocent people and destroying hopes and dreams of our youth. Our persistent operations will continue to make sure that those who participated in this crime will rot in prison.”
Police BGeneral Jonnel Estomo, Regional Director of PRO-5 called on the rebels to surrender, “Alam naming pagod na kayong magtago lalo na ngayong mas pinaigting at pinalawak pa namin ang aming ginagawang operasyon. Alalahanin ninyo ang inyong mga pamilya. Para sa kanila, sumuko na lamang kayo.”
Major General Henry Robinson Jr. PA, commander of the Joint Task Force (JTF) Bicolandia said incensed by the recent killing of innocent civlians, the morale of the law enforcement side of the conflict is fever-pitched.
Robinson said, “We do not tolerate terrorism. Thus, we are giving these evildoers two options: to keep their lives or to die fighting against our troops who are scouring every nook and cranny of Masbate province just to find them.
“Bright future awaits the Absalons had it not been for this terrorist group’s wickedness. But we are confident that they will all face the consequences of their crimes, especially that the Masbateños who are expressing strong repulsion over the CTG’s inhuman acts and lawlessness are one with us in this fight.”
It can be recalled that last Sunday, June 6, CPP-NPA-NDF terrorists detonated an anti-personnel mine (improvised explosive device) in Masbate City killing FEU’s football player, Kieth Absalon and his cousin, Nolven, and wounding his nephew Chrisbin Daniel.
The Absalons were engaged in their regular biking exercise to support Kieth’s fitness training for his soccer program with the Far Eastern University.
Enraged at the senseless killing of a most promising sports asset to the country, social media went steaming with indignation from various part of the country, commiserating with the loss of the Absalon family.
Kieth Absalon is a national athlete who saw action “under-19 age category” of the Asean Football Federation Championship in Indonesia last 2018. (SPH/Ado Paglinawan)