ILOILO CITY – Information from residents on the presence of the members of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) rebels in Sitio Tabiay, Barangay Buri in Tapaz, Capiz resulted in an almost an hour encounter with government troops in the area and recovery of materials used to make anti-personnel mines (APM) on Thursday.
Major Cenon Pancito III, chief of the 3rd Division Public Affairs Office (3DPAO), on Friday said that what happened was a “classic example of the people and the Philippine Army working together”.
“There was really an encounter but our recoveries were the ones that they left behind in the area and most of which are really materials used in making anti-personnel mines,” he said in an interview.
No one was hurt among the government soldiers, Pancito added.
Those recovered include one APM, nine backpacks, six hammocks, 150 meters of electrical wire, a binocular, five liters of gasoline, a container filled with fertilizer, medical supplies, subversive documents, assorted food supplies, and personal belongings.
He added that they were thankful for the prompt information provided by residents, thus they were able to pre-empt any plans of the CPP-NPA against the government forces or any of their targets.
He said that it is an indication that the government is “winning the war against insurgency, against the CPP-NPA”.
Pancito added that the community support program (CSP) deployed in strategic areas of central Panay has ended on the second quarter of the year but the Philippine Army has left behind dedicated forces that will react immediately in case there are movements on the part of the CPP-NPA.
While there were no forces deployed specifically in Barangay Buri, yet they are also covered by teams deployed in the vicinity.
Buri is about a four-hour walk from the main road, which is about 10 kilometers away from the town proper.
Pancito called on the public not to worry when there are encounters at this time, instead, they have to be more afraid when they know that the area is part of the guerilla zone of the CCP-NPA and no encounter was recorded because it means the people “are sympathetic with the New People’s Army”.
“This time around it’s different. The people are the ones telling us that we should be there in the area to protect them,” he added.
The CPP-NPA is listed as a terror group by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines. (PNA)