TACLOBAN CITY – The Philippine Army has recovered several firearms in a clash with the communist terrorist group New People’s Army (NPA) at the outskirts of Borongan City, Eastern Samar on Monday.
Lt. Col. Oliver Alvior, commanding officer of the Philippine Army’s 78th Infantry Battalion, said that no one was hurt among government troops while bloodstains were seen in the rebel’s escape routes after the 25-minute gunfight that started around 2:20 p.m. in the upland village of San Andres.
The fleeing rebels left behind different types of rifles: four M16, an M653, an AK47; documents with high intelligence value, and numerous personal belongings, the military said in its report sent to reporters on Tuesday.
The soldiers have stepped up their patrol in the area acting on reports of concerned civilians regarding the presence of armed rebels in their village attempting to extort food and intimidate residents.
“The active participation of the local populace is vital in the government’s campaign in ending local communist armed conflict. From the provision of the timely and accurate information regarding the presence of the NPA in the community to the extension of services directly to the community,” Alvior said in a statement.
The military attributed the villager’s support to the fight against the communist terrorist group to the recent community outreach activity last March 25, 2021.
The activity included the validation of issues and concerns identified during the community support program immersion at the grassroots level.
Residents received family food packs, hygiene kits, medicines, vegetable seeds from the Department of Agriculture, toys for children, free medical checkups, and cash assistance from the Department of Social Welfare and Development.
“While the local populace and the government work hand in hand for the peace and development of the community, the communist rebels are stalling development and attempting to maliciously obtain the sympathy of the locals through acts of force, intimidation, and fraud,” Alvior added.
The NPA, which has been waging a five-decade armed struggle against the government, is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines. (PNA)