CAMP NAKAR, Lucena City – Assorted high-powered firearms were recovered after a gunfight between government troops and seven mebers of New People’s Army (NPA) in Purok 7, Barangay Banase in Baleno, Masbate province on Dec. 8.

According to a report released on Thursday by the Southern Luzon Command (SOLCOM), the military offensives against the communists were conducted by troops of the 2nd Infantry Battalion (2IB), 9th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army (PA) and the Police Regional Office (PRO5) and Regional Intelligence Unit (RIU) operatives at about 5:35 a.m.  

Lt. Col. John Oliver Gabun, Army’s 2IB commanding officer said the encounter happened when the army troopers led by 2nd Lieutenant Orville Jos Daniel B. Latap conducted their combat operation after a tip by a civilian informant on the presence of armed NPAs in the area extorting money from the villagers.

Colonel Greg T. Almerol, Army commander of the 903rd Infantry Brigade reported that “the 2IB troops recovered two M-16 rifles, a rifle grenade, a long magazine of 10 rounds of live ammunitions for M-16 rifle and subversive documents.

A number of NPAs were also wounded during the firefight.

Following the armed encounter by the combined military and police forces, Brigadier General Ernesto V. Ravina Jr, acting SOLCOM Commander, said government forces "will intensify our Internal Security Operations (ISO) against all security threats particularly with the CPP-NPA-NDF.”

CPP is the Communist Party of the Philippines and NDF is the National Democratic Front.

Ravina also assured SOLCOM’s full support to President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s latest pronouncements in tagging the CCP-NPA as a terrorist group.

 “All our operations are within the framework of the rule of law and respect for human rights to protect the Filipino People and to ensure stable security conditions in the area,” he stressed. (Pau Mojar/PNA)