Army troops foiled an attempt by New People’s Army terrorists to burn down heavy equipment being used in a road construction project following a clash in South Cotabato Tuesday evening even as an NPA rebel was killed in a separate skirmish in Misamis Occidental Monday.
Lt. Col. Ezra Balagtey, Information Officer of the Eastern Mindanao Command said the plan by the NPA to set fire to a heavy equipment was aborted after they were intercepted by soldiers from the 27th Infantry
Battalion in Sitio Lamfinik, Brgy Lamfugon, Lake Sebu town at about 8 p.m.
Balagtey said troops under Col. Adonis Bajao, commander of the 1002nd Infantry Brigade were securing an ongoing road construction project at the said area when they spotted about seven NPA rebels acting suspiciously.
A 20-minute gun battle erupted after which the NPA team scampered to different direction. The brief clash did not inflict any casualty on both sides.
On Feb. 14, an NPA rebel band torched four heavy construction equipment—three backhoes and a bulldozer being used in a road widening project at Kaliwa Dam in Infanta, Quezon.
After the burning, the NPAs fled towards the boundaries of Laguna and Quezon but were intercepted by pursuing army troopers from the 1st Infantry Battalion, sparking a firefight which killed a rebel who turned out to be an undergraduate student of veterinary Medicine at the University of the Philippines Los Baños identified as John Carlo Capistrano Alberto.
Major. Gen. Felimon Santos Jr., commander of the Eastern Mindanao Command which has jurisdiction in South Cotabato said his troops are committed to guard government flagship program in his turf.
“Our security and military operations are committed to establishing a psychologically secured environment which allows the implementation of government projects in the hinterlands that will benefit our marginal and isolated communities,” Santos said.
In Misamis Occidental, a NPA rebel was killed during an encounter with government troops from the 10th Infantry Battalion in Brgy. San Pedro, Aloran town.
Capt. Clint Antipala, public affairs officer said the death of the still unidentified rebel fighter came following a tip from civilians on the presence of NPAs prompting soldiers to respond.
Antipala said that while the troops were scouring the area, they were fired upon by the rebels, forcing the soldiers to retaliate. The troops claimed to have inflicted casualties on the rebels as they saw blood stains along the route where the rebels retreated.
The escaping rebels abandoned an AK-47 rifles with three magazines and several subversive documents.