CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – The body of a New People's Army (NPA) rebel who was killed in a firefight has been turned over to his family members in Salay, Misamis Oriental, the Philippine Army said on Tuesday.
The rebel identified as Elly Marianas Cabusog was one of the fatalities in the continuing Army operations in the hinterlands of Barangay Mimbuli.
1st Lt. Jefferson Mariano, 58th IB's Civil-Military Operations officer, said Cabusog was part of the NPA's Guerilla Front Huawei of the Sub-regional Committee 1 of North Central Mindanao Regional Command (NCMRC). He was a resident of Sitio Salahon of Barangay Alipuaton in the same town.
"The encounter occurred at around three in the afternoon as the 58IB responded to a tip from a concerned citizen that a group of armed men was conducting food foraging and was threatening them anew," the PA said.
2nd Lt. Monique Olarte, 58IB Assistant Civil-Military Operations officer, in an interview Tuesday, said the encounter lasted 25 minutes.
"There were more or less 12 NPA rebels who had been encountered by our troops," Olarte said.
She said there was no injury among the government troops, while they believe there were few rebels who sustained wounds based on the traces of blood found on the encounter site.
Troops discovered the abandoned body of Cabusog while scouring the encounter site. Also found were an M16 rifle, personal belongings, and assorted medical paraphernalia.
Meanwhile, Lt. Col. Ricky Canatoy, commanding officer of the 58IB, said the relentless operations in the remote areas are meant to drive the NPA guerrillas away from communities to prevent them from disrupting peace in communities and collecting revolutionary tax through extortion.
He also condoled with the family of the slain rebel.
“Another life has been lost in the war against the failed ideology of the communist NPA terrorists," he said.
He also urged the remaining NPA fighters to lay down their arms, return to the fold of the law, and avail themselves of government programs.
The Communist Party of the Philippines-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)