DAVAO CITY -- A New People's Army (NPA) leader was killed in an encounter with government troops from the Army’s 3rd Infantry battalion in Purok 1, Barangay Baracatan, Toril here on Sunday.
Lt. Col Oscar Partuza, commander of 3rd Infantry Battalion, said in an interview on Monday that the troops led by 2Lt. Roland Tangara chanced upon the rebels believed to be under the Pulang Bagani Command 3 while conducting focus military operation in the vicinity of said village.
"As the troops were approaching the enemy location, an encounter transpired and heavy exchange of fire followed," Partuza said.
After a 30-minute firefight, he said the enemies withdrew towards the southern part of the encounter site.
He reported no casualty from the government side, but the troops found one body identified as that of Viva Albert Abenua alias "Ivy", 37, single, resident of Ilang-ilang, San Mariano Loreto, Agusan del Sur, and a commander of the Pulang Bagani.
The troops also recovered two high powered firearms – M16A1 and AK47 rifle - along with four units of detonator switch, five magazines of AK47 and a fully loaded magazine of short M16.
"Nadala po natin sa baba sa funeral home, binuhat ng tropa ang patay para mabigyan ng disenting libing (We brought the body to the funeral home to be given a decent funeral)," Partuza said.
"We are not encouraging fighting between Filipinos but we are inviting them to surrender and lay down their firearms and return to the folds of the law,” he said.
Partuza said surrenderers can always avail of the government’s Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program that will help them start a new life. (PNA)