Heavy Clashes in Davao Oriental; 5 High Powered Firearms Recovered, 5 Wounded

CATEEL, Davao Oriental---Government troops clashed with an illegal armed group believed to be members of the New People’s Army in two separate encounters over the weekend in Davao Oriental.

On Saturday at 5 p.m., troops of 67th Infantry Battalion, 10th Infantry Division, clashed with the NPAs at Sitio Caningag, Barangay Cabasagan, Boston, Davao Oriental. The encounter lasted for 30 minutes that resulted to the wounding of two soldiers.

According to Colonel Ruben Basiao, Commanding Officer of 67IB, “the Communities’ trust and confidence with the government troops led them to report to the authorities. The massive peace and development efforts through consultation and collaboration with the Local Government Units (LGU) and various communities have been jointly implemented purposely to increase the quality of life of the civilians.”

The two military wounded soldiers are currently receiving medical attention in the military hospital at Camp Panacan, Davao City.

Another 4-hour encounter happened on Sunday at 1:30 p.m. in Sitio Carampel, Barangay Aliwagwag, Cateel, Davao Oriental. “Complaints from the civilians of the presence of heavily armed men harrasing the community prompted the troops of 6th Scout Ranger Company of 2nd Scout Ranger Battalion to launch a patrol that led to the heavy firefight against the New People’s Army (NPA), says Lt Col. Gilbert F. Saret, Commanding Officer of the 25th Infantry Battalion of 10th Infantry Division.

As a result of the firefight, recovered were five high powered firearms (HPFAs), improvised landmines, components of explosives, subversive documents, and personal belongings of the NPAs. Three soldiers were wounded while undetermined number of casualties from the NPAs.

The identities of the wounded are being withheld pending the notification of their relatives. Likewise, unconfirmed reports from local residents says that there are at least two NPAs killed during the encounter.

“The reports from the populace is an indicator of their resistance to the criminal acts perpetrated by the NPAs. This led to the series of encounters that prevented the NPAs to plan for the future conduct of atrocities. We thank the government officials and the populace who are determined to pursue genuine peace and development by taking a stand to secure the province from the threat of criminal actions by the NPAs”, said Lt. Col. Lyndon Paniza, 10th Infantry Division spokesperson.

Lt. Col. Paniza added, “If the NPAs’ intent to commit atrocities was not pre-empted, it could have caused an atmosphere of fear not only to the residents but also to the business sector that are interrested to invest in the area.”

Last week, the NPAs have burned one passenger bus and an elf truck in Sta Cruz, Davao Del Sur and Banay-banay, Davao Oriental, respectively.

“The Armed Forces of the Philippines particularly the 10th Infantry Division, Philippine Army has been genuine in its effort for the implementation of the rules of law, rules of engagement (ROE), International Humanitarian Law (IHL), and Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) especially that peace talk is ongoing. However, these NPAs are continuously and are insisting to defy the peace process. It only shows that the CPP has no control over their illegal armed elements that victimize soft civilian targets,” Paniza said.

Hot pursuit operations by the army and the Philipine National Police (PNP) are still ongoing as of this report.

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