AFP neutralizes 10 Reds, 3 DI-MG terrorists in weeklong ops

By Priam Nepomuceno

February 26, 2024, 11:19 am Updated on February 26, 2024, 12:58 pm

<p>AFP chief Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr. <em>(PNA file photo by Priam F. Nepomuceno)</em></p>

AFP chief Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr. (PNA file photo by Priam F. Nepomuceno)

MANILA – Government troops have neutralized 13 communist insurgents and terrorists in operations in the Visayas and Mindanao from Feb. 18 to 24, the Armed Forces of the Philippines said Sunday night.

In a statement, AFP chief Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr. said soldiers managed to neutralize 10 New People's Army (NPA) rebels and three terrorist Dawlah Islamiyah-Maute Group (DI-MG) members.

"I commend our courageous troops who remain steadfast in defending our peace. You are our nation’s heroes. With every victory, we edge nearer to our mission. Rest assured that the AFP will not falter until peace reigns in our country,” he added.

On Feb. 24, troops from the 49th Infantry Battalion clashed with NPA rebels in Barangay Salvacion, Pio Duran, Albay, seizing various weapons and personal belongings.

Members of the 47th Infantry Battalion, 302nd Brigade, and police forces engaged remnants of Communist Party of the Philippines-NPA Bohol Party Committee in Bilar, Bohol, led by Domingo Compoc alias "Silong" on Feb. 23. Four other NPA rebels were killed in the clash.

On the same day, the 29th and 30th Infantry Battalions neutralized another NPA rebel and captured firearms and ammunition during an encounter in Cabadbaran City, Agusan Del Norte.

The 502nd Infantry Brigade also clashed with remaining members of the Cagayan Valley Regional Committee in Gonzaga, Cagayan, resulting in the death of an NPA fighter.

Meanwhile, on Feb. 21, 79th Infantry Battalion soldiers engaged members of the defunct Northern Negros Front in Escalante City, Negros Occidental, neutralizing three rebels and recovering various weapons.

On Feb. 18, DI-MG members, led by alias "Mas’Od", were killed in an operation by the 44th Infantry Battalion to hunt down terrorists behind the Mindanao State University (MSU) bombing that transpired last Dec. 3. Six soldiers were killed in the clash.

The military has neutralized at least 18 DI-MG members, including the mastermind behind the bombing of the MSU, identified through his alias as "Engineer".

“With their leaders and networks dismantled, our enemies stand weakened and exposed. To the remaining terrorists, the only options left for you now are to surrender or perish,” Brawner said.


Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr. also lauded the AFP for their efforts against members of the DI-MG and the NPA in encounters in Lanao del Norte, Negros Occidental, and Bohol last week.

"I especially laud our operatives who successfully pursued the suspects in last year's tragic bombing in Mindanao State University. The Defense Department and AFP shall remain resolute in ridding the nation of these lawless elements, who are harming our people and disrupting our communities," he added.

Teodoro also honored the sacrifices of the six government troops who were killed in action in line with their mandate of protecting the nation and its people.

He also assured the families of the fallen troops that all available support will be extended to them in their hour of need.

"On instructions of the President we are, together with the AFP, working hard to ensure that casualties are avoided. This is the best way to honor their sacrifice," Teodoro said.

Legitimate encounter

In a press briefing in Camp Crame, Quezon City on Monday, Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Gen. Benjamin Acorda Jr. maintained the regularity of the operation in Bohol, where an officer, Cpl. Gilbert Amper, also perished.

Acorda issued the statement after militant group Karapatan alleged that the encounter was a massacre and that the alleged rebels were tortured.

Aside from Compoc, also killed were Hannah Cesista, who served as former field investigator and paralegal of Karapatan; Parlito Segovia; Marlon Omosura; and a certain "Juaning."

“Nevertheless, if there are complaints, we are open for investigation but based on the report, it’s a legitimate operation. In fact, it’s an intelligence-driven operation and an implementation of a warrant of arrest. So far, the report of the police regional office said there is no irregularity,” Acorda added. (with Lloyd Caliwan/PNA)