Members of the Communist NPA Terrorist (CNTs) were encountered by the Army’s 61st Infantry (Hunter) Battalion, 3ID, Philippine Army at Brgy. Tigmarabo, Miagao, Iloilo on December 26, 2020 at around 1:00 PM.
The firefight occurred while troops from the 61IB Philippine Army were conducting a community security patrol in the hinterland barangays to ensure a peaceful celebration of the holidays following information from the local populace about the presence of Communist NPA terrorists in the area planning to commit atrocities during the holiday season.
The terrorists were perhaps 40 CNTs from the Suyak (SDG) Platoon of the Southern Front’s Kometing Rehiyon-Panay, led by Joven Ceralvo @Lex.
The troops overran the enemy bunker after a twenty-minute battle. Two 12-gauge shotguns, two IEDs, one hand grenade, 10 bags, one projector, two cellphones, one binocular, and subversive materials were all successfully captured.
The troops have not been injured, but the wounded NPA members have left bloodstains along their escape routes. The forces are currently pursuing and clearing any areas of retreat for fleeing rebels.
The Commanding Officer, LTC Joel Benedict G. Batara INF (GSC) PA, states that the Army troops will use all necessary means to safeguard the people and secure the towns, especially during the holiday season.
We encourage residents to be more vigilant and report the presence and plans of NPA terrorists in their barangays immediately, as well as calling on the remaining NPA members in the mountains to come down, live a normal life, celebrate holidays with their families and friends, and contribute to the community, he added.
Meanwhile, BGen Marion R. Sison PA, Commander, 301st Infantry Brigade, praised the community for remaining watchful and cautious in the face of the presence of these Communist Terrorists. It merely demonstrates that the populace had become aware of the NPA’s deceptions and lies, as well as the futile armed conflict.
“To the troops, we will not lower our guards especially this yuletide season. Your army here in Panay will continue to protect and secure you from these CTGs.”