The Army’s 58th Infantry Battalion (58IB) on Saturday said that three rebels of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) were killed in a recent encounter in Claveria town, Misamis Oriental.
In a statement, Lt. Col. Ricky Canatoy, commanding officer of the 58IB, said the 10-minute firefight happened between government forces and around 10 armed rebels of GF Huawei of Sub-regional Committee 1 (SRC1) of the North Central Mindanao Regional Committee (NCMRC) on Friday.
The 58th IB identified the slain NPA rebels as Agay Taquin alias Kerby, the vice commander of Platoon Falcon; Andrew Odiongan alias Dave, the political instructor of SR SDG Eagles; and Joan Pajardo alias Amirgo, team leader B of Squad 1, GF Huawei, all under the SRC 1, NCMRC.
The first encounter occurred at around 7 a.m. in the hinterlands of Barangay Plaridel, Claveria town, as the troops were conducting military operations while following the traces of a rebel hideout discovered in the area.
The government troops recovered one KG9, one M16 rifle, one Carbine rifle, five makeshift tents, one long magazine for M16 loaded with ammunition, one magazine for carbine loaded with ammunition, personal belongings, and subversive documents.
Canatoy also confirmed that no casualty was reported on the government side.
He also assured the public that government forces are on full alert against the rebel group ahead of the upcoming national and local elections on May 9, 2022.
“Even during election season, we will remain vigilant against this terrorist group and anyone else planning to incite violence in MisOr (Misamis Oriental). We will not hesitate to use force against peacebreakers and other threat groups that continue to use terrorism because we do not tolerate it,” he said.
Canatoy said the government will continue to protect the people and encourage NPA rebels to return to the folds of the law.
“The Army has been merciful to the armed rebels in recent months, urging them to return to the folds of the law and live a peaceful and normal life, thus avoiding unnecessary death. Because it is our duty as soldiers to protect and secure the lives of the innocent and the progress of the province,” he said.
The retrieved cadavers were turned over to the Barangay Council and to the Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office in Balingasag where they will be given a decent and proper turnover to their families.