The military claimed on Thursday that the growing cooperation of local residents in Surigao del Sur has been critical in the government’s attempts to smash the province’s New People’s Army (NPA) insurgents.
Lt. Col. Michael Rey Reuyan, commander of the 36th Infantry Battalion (36IB), issued a statement thanking the residents of Sitio Agsam, Barangay Cabas-an, Cantilan for their faith in the government, particularly the 36IB troopers.
He claimed that precise and timely data from people assisted in the neutralization of two NPA rebels and the capture of high-powered weaponry and ammo during a conflict last September 21.
In Sitio Agsam, around 10 heavily armed NPA rebels led by Noel Tumarlas Alacre, alias Megan of Platoon 2, Guerrilla Front 30, North Eastern Mindanao Regional Committee engaged the 36IB troopers in a 10-minute gunfight.
The insurgents retreated from their position and abandoned two of their compatriots, who died in a hospital in Madrid, Surigao Sur.
The soldiers also confiscated many high-powered guns and subversive materials from the encounter site.
“With the support of the locals and communities, we could easily track down the enemy. It is a manifestation that the growing support of the communities is a response that they don’t want the CPP (Communist Party of the Philippines)-NPA in their area,” Reuyan said.
The 36IB is deeply devastated by the deaths of the two unidentified rebels, he added.
“I call on the remaining CPP-NPA terrorists to surender now and return to the folds of the law. Lay down your arms and return to your families. Avail the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program, the government intervention package for former rebels” Reuyan said.
He further stated that the cadavers of the NPA fighters who were slain were given over to the Philippine National Police and a local government unit for identification and post-mortem examination.