A soldier was killed during an encounter between the Army’s 58th Infantry Battalion (58IB) and communist New People’s Army (NPA) at the hinterland village of San Juan, Gingoog City, Misamis Oriental province on Wednesday.
In a statement, the 58IB withheld the identity of the fallen soldier pending notification of his family.
The troops encountered around 20 NPA combatants while they were conducting operations against the latter’s Sub-Regional Committee 1 (SRC1) of North Central Mindanao Regional Command around 5 a.m.
On September 16, two SRC1 top leaders, identified as Manuelito Satur alias Mosong, 56, and his wife Merlyn alias Maya, were apprehended during a joint military and police operation in Alagatan village, Gingoog City, Misamis Oriental.
The 58IB used the duo’s revelation in launching successful focused military operations that resulted in two armed engagements with the NPAs on September 27 and 28.
Meanwhile, the number of casualties on the NPA side has yet to be determined, as bloodstains were discovered at the encounter site as reported by Army troopers pursuing the retreating communist combatants.
Lt. Col. Ricky L Canatoy, 58IB commander, has assured the continuous combat operation against the NPAs after they have extracted vital information on the next move of the SRC1 from the two top leaders.
“Since the capture of Mosong and Maya last month, we were able to extract vital information as to their next intentions and likely dispositions of the remnants of SRC1,” Canatoy said.
Since then, he said the 58IB’s combat operations have been ramped up with forces chasing down the NPAs to prevent them from disrupting peace in the area and committing terrorist acts.
Canatoy has sent his condolences to the family of the slain soldier and underscored the latter’s sacrifice in doing his sworn duty to promote peace and protect the people.
“In the name of attaining lasting peace and inclusive development for the people and the Filipino nation, we do our very best and give our all, including our lives,” Canatoy said.
He added that it saddens him greatly that another life of a comrade was sacrificed in the service of a noble cause.