Mawab, Compostela Valley Province – Two members of New People’s Army were killed while two high-powered firearms were recovered 11:45 a.m. Sunday following an encounter with government troops in Brgy. Calabcab, Maco, Compostela Valley Province.
Commander of 71st Infantry Battalion, Lt. Col. Jerry Borja, disclosed that said attack was a deliberate offensive operation of notorious group to harass the residents who have been in support to the Army’s Peace and Development Outreach Program (PDOP). “Our Peace and Development Team were having a community consultation in barangay hall when NPAs, despite the presence of civilians, attacked and peppered the area with bullets”, he said adding that the attack was another act of idiocy and desperation of the NPAs in response to the rejection of the community.
“Our troops refrained from firing to secure first the civilians. This resulted to seven soldiers wounded in action (WIAs)”, Borja said. He identified the WIAs as Sgt. Marlon Parong, Cpl. Romualdo Tangonan, Pfc. Erwin Manabat, Pfc. Rocky Molina, Pfc. Jaypee Sionillo, Pfc. Carmelo Cachuela, and Pfc. Ludivico Elegio Jr. who are now recuperating in Camp Panacan Station Hospital, Panacan, this city.
“Troops returned fire right after they have secured the residents in the area”, he added saying two of the criminal group NPA were killed in said clash which lasted for about three hours. He identified the two as certain Manny and Max. Also recovered in the area were one M16 rifle and one M14 rifle and five improvised landmines. “Amidst being outnumbered, our troops were still able to drive away more or less 60 members of the NPA”, he said.
Borja disclosed that two civilians were also wounded identified as Grace Buayaban Malisa, 22 years old, who was hit in her right tricep and Adela Tomas Madanlo, 46 years old, who was wounded in her right stomach and both her feet and legs due to shrapnel. He also revealed that one of the victims was shot by the NPAs based on initial interview. “She said that when one of the NPAs pointed her the gun, she raised her hand saying she was a civilian pleading to spare her, but the rebel still shot her”, he said but failed to name the victim.
“This act is clearly out of their frustration to stop the success of Maco in gaining peace and development. They attacked government forces without considering the presence of civilians that may be caught in between crossfire”, Borja said.