The Philippine Army’s 53rd Infantry (Matapat) Battalion (53IB) clashed with the New People’s Army (NPA) at 11:05 AM, May 11, 2020, in Barangay Balonai, Midsalip, Zamboanga del Sur.
Lt. Col. Jo-ar Herrera, 53IB Commander said the 25-minute firefight resulted in the recovery of two cadavers of unidentified NPAs, two AK47 assault rifles, two bandoliers with magazines and ammunition, and one backpack.
The cadavers are now being transported for immediate identification and decent burial.
There were no reported casualties on the government side.
“This would not have been possible without the information provided by concerned citizens of the enemy presence in their communities,” Lt. Col. Herrera said.
“The people are already proactive in their roles in denouncing the terroristic acts of the NPAs in their barangays,” Lt. Col. Herrera said.
As of this posting, troops are still conducting pursuit operations against fleeing members of the terrorist group.
Col. Leonel Nicolas, 102nd Infantry Brigade Commander, who has operational jurisdiction of Zamboanga del Sur assured the public that the Philippine Army is already on top of the situation.
“We will continue the relentless operations against these terrorist groups until their cause and presence become insignificant in our society today,” Col. Nicolas said.
Maj. Gen. Generoso Ponio, 1st Infantry (Tabak) Division Commander, commended the troops for this accomplishment.
“The Tabak Division in partnership with the Local Government Units and other stakeholders through the Local Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (LTF-ELCAC) is committed to put an end to this decades-long insurgency problem in Zamboanga Peninsula,” Maj. Gen. Ponio said.
“Through the Whole-of-Nation Approach we are positive that we can finally achieve our end goal, to create an environment conducive for sustainable peace and development in the region,” Ponio said.
The NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines.