CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY—Two bodies possibly belonging to New People’s Army (NPA) members were retrieved by government forces ar sitio Tambo, Barangay Binicalan in San Luis, Agusan del Sur, late Sunday afternoon, the military said Monday.
Based on a report by Philippine Army’s 4th Infantry Division (4ID), a unit from the 26th Infantry Battalion (26IB) figured in a firefight with an undetermined number of NPA guerrillas in Binicalan Friday last week.
Troops recovered high-powered firearms, an improvised explosive device (IED), personal belongings, and subversive documents at the area following the fighting. Also found were three AK-47 rifles, an M14 rifle, an M16 with an attached M203 grenade launcher, and an improvised M16 rifle.
Lt. Col. Rommel Pagayon, 26IB commanding officer, said they were tipped off by village residents that the NPA had left their dead comrades at the site.
“A day after the gunbattle, concerned populace in Sitio Tambo informed the government troos that a number of NPAs were fatally wounded in the firefight with the 26IB [soldiers] and that [two] of the terrorists were left to die miserably,” Col. Pagayon said.
As of this writing, the bodies are yet to be identified and were brought from the mountains to be handed over to their families and given proper burial, Pagayon said.
Pagayon said the unnecessary loss of lives “could have been prevented if these [Communists] oheeded the call of the government to lay down their arms and live their lives peacefully and happily with their families.”
For his part, Col. Andres Centino, the 401st brigade commander, appealed to the other NPA members to "stop terrorizing the indigenous peoples communities in the hinterland and let them live in peace."
Maj. General Ronald Villanueva, Army's 4ID commander, has assured the military's commitment to address the threats that prevent peace and development in the countryside.
“This I assure everyone that your Army will take all necessary actions that will fully address this more than four decade insurgency situation that hinders our country’s development.
Sooner or later, if we continue to work together, this insurgency situation will just perish naturally and every plan and program of our government for our people will be realized. Everyone will be benefited,” Gen. Villanueva said. (PNA/Jigger J. Jerusalem)