LEGAZPI CITY – A slain New People’s Army (NPA) rebel was left behind by comrades while a high-powered gun and explosives were seized after an encounter with government soldiers in Camarines Sur province on May 26.
In a statement on Thursday, Capt. John Paul Belleza, 9th Infantry Division (9ID) spokesperson, said the armed clash happened in Sitio Castilla, Barangay Napolidan, Lupi town.
Citing a report, he said the 9th Infantry Battalion (9IB) received information from local residents about the presence of CTG members in the area which the troops immediately verified.
"At least 15 CNTs were encountered by the troops who, after a fierce gunfight, scurried towards different directions. An M16 rifle and four anti-personnel mines were also captured from the encounter site," Belleza said.
Lt. Col. Emerson Sumilang, 9IB commander, said the explosives recovered from the rebels only validate the terrorist group's heinous crimes and methods of terrorizing peaceful communities.
The soldiers, he added, were ordered to continue scouring the area to "thwart any other terrorist acts the CTG is planning to carry out".
Col. Jaime Abawag Jr., commander of 902nd Infantry Brigade, called on the rebels to consider their families and immediately return to the fold of the law.
"Alam naming natatakot din kayong mamatay. (We know that you are afraid to die). There is a way for you to live a longer life and that is to go back to your families. We are here; we will assist you. 'Wag n'yo nang sayangin ang buhay n'yo sa kabundukan (Don't waste your life in the mountains)," Abawag said.
Maj. Gen. Henry Robinson Jr., commander of the Joint Task Force (JTF) Bicolandia, said the communist insurgency has long been a cause not just of terrorism but also the loss of precious lives.
“Sa mga miyembro ng CTG, tingnan ninyo ang ginagawa sa inyo ng mga kabaro ninyo. Nagbubuwis kayo ng buhay sa isang teroristang grupong hindi man lang kayo nililingon kapag nasusugatan kayo o kaya naman ay binabawian ng buhay. Ni hindi nga nila kayo maiuwi sa inyong pamilya. Tapos ang mga sundalo at pulis ang tinatawag ninyong kaaway? Sana sa pagkamatay ng isa na naman ninyong kasamahan ay mapukaw na ang inyong mga isip at piliin ninyong abandonahin na ang kilusan (To the members of the CTG, look what your comrades have done to you. You are sacrificing your life in a terrorist group that never looks after you when you are injured or killed. They can't even bring your body home to your family. Then you call the army and the police force your enemy? We hope that after this incident, you choose to abandon them). The government is here to help you start anew," Robinson said.
This year, CTG's useless cause has claimed the lives of at least five rebels in Camarines Sur.
JTF Bicolandia considers this as proof that the CTG is losing in its fight against the government, especially now that the Bicolanos are publicly denouncing the group's violence and illegal acts.
Even before the first half of 2021 ends, 111 CTG members and supporters from different provinces of Bicol already surrendered to the government, bringing along various firearms.
The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines. (PNA)