REBEL CASUALTY. The remains of alias 'Bert' who was killed in a Sept. 11 encounter in Davao Oriental were handed over to his family by government troops in Barangay Kingking, Pantukan, Davao De Oro Wednesday (Sept. 14, 2022). The slain rebel belongs to the New People's Army Guerrilla Front 18 who was killed together with other NPA combatants identified only as Buddy, Jumong, Joshua and Mando. (Photo courtesy of 10ID)

DAVAO CITY – Troopers from the Army’s 10th Infantry Division (10ID) handed over Thursday to their respective families the remains of five communist New People's Army (NPA) members who were killed in an encounter in Davao Oriental province.

In an interview, Capt. Mark Anthony Tito, the 10ID spokesperson, said the five members of the NPA Guerrilla Front 18 were separately killed in an encounter with the Army’s 701st Infantry Brigade in Barangay Mahayahay in Lupon, and Barangay San Vicente, Banaybanay, both in Davao Oriental, on Sept. 11 and 13.

The slain NPA fighters were identified only through their aliases as Buddy, Jumong, Bert, Joshua and Mando.

Recovered from the slain rebels were a .45-caliber pistol, a K3 Squad Automatic Weapon, an AK-47 rifle, two R4 rifles, three M16 rifles, assorted ammunition, subversive documents and other war matériel.

The remains of "Buddy" were claimed by his parents on Sept. 13.

Likewise, Rene Cezar claimed the remains of his cousin "Jumong", while soldiers from the 48th Infantry Battalion transported the remains of “Bert” to his family at Barangay Kingking, Pantukan, Davao De Oro on Sept. 14.

On Thursday, the remains of  "Joshua" were also transported to his hometown in Arakan, North Cotabato.

"As of the moment, only the remains of "Mando" have yet to be claimed," Tito said.

Maj. Gen. Nolasco Mempin, the 10ID commander, expressed condolences to the families of the slain communist NPA fighters.

“The death of our fellow Filipinos would not have happened if only they chose to surrender. As a professional Army, we always consider the sanctity of one’s life, and we could have rescued them from the deceitful clutches of the communist group,” Mempin said.

The provincial government, meanwhile, shouldered all the funeral expenses of the slain rebels. It also handed financial assistance and food packs to the families.

The 10ID, together with the Pantukan municipal government in Davao de Oro, also provided financial and transportation assistance to the family of the dead rebels.

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.

The National Democratic Front was formally designated as a terrorist organization by the Anti-Terrorism Council on June 23, 2021, citing it as “an integral and inseparable part” of the CPP-NPA created in April 1973. (PNA)