The Philippine Army’s 53rd Infantry “Matapat” Battalion (53IB) captured a high-powered firearm in a new clash with the communist NPA terrorists in Siayan, Zamboanga del Norte on July 20, 2020.
The 10-minute firefight transpired at the boundary of Sitio Tumanong, Barangay Macasing and Sitio Sinatalan, Barangay Pange, Siayan, Zamboanga del Norte.
Initial reports say there were no casualties incurred on the government side.
One M16 rifle was recovered after the encounter along with various magazines and ammunition, medical supplies and paraphernalia, and terrorist propaganda materials.
53IB Commanding Officer Lt. Col. Jo-ar Herrera said the Army will exert all efforts until peace is achieved in the Municipality of Siayan.
“We will not stop in doing two things: first, in pursuing the enemy who disrupts peace in Siayan and second, giving chance and opportunity to the NPAs to return to the folds of the law,” Lt. Col. Herrera said.
102nd Infantry Brigade Commander Col. Leonel Nicolas, who has operational jurisdiction of Zamboanga del Norte, said that the Brigade will continue to deploy its troops to bring peace in the communities.
“The brigade will continuously pressure the communist NPA terrorists operating in the region to induce them to lay down their arms and eventually promote peace and development,” Col. Nicolas said.
Siayan mayor Josecor Gepolongca, Municipal Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conclict (MTF-ELCAC) chairman, commended the troops for their gallantry.
“This is a fruitful result of our activities in relation to ELCAC, continuously encouraging our constituents to cooperate with the Government. Vividly, the full trust of our people is now on our side”, Mayor Gepolongca said.
1st Infantry “Tabak” Division Commander Maj. Gen. Gene Ponio said “it is not yet too late for the NPA terrorists still in the hinterlands to surrender.”
“The programs and initiatives of the Government, including the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP), are just waiting for you. It is not yet too late to start a new life in peace and violence-free,” Maj. Gen. Ponio said.
On July 19, 2020, a Communist-NPA terrorist turned himself over to the troops, saying he can’t stand being in the armed group anymore.
53IB troops are in hot pursuit of the communist terrorists as of this posting.