The Philippine Army overran a lair of the New People’s Army (NPA) after a four-hour gun battle on the outskirts of San Jose de Buan, Samar on July 30, 2020.
The firefight resulted in the discovery of a lair in San Nicolas village, large enough to accommodate 50 to 100 rebels with 34 huts and a large kitchen.
Lt. Col. Reynaldo Balido Jr., commander of the Philippine Army’s 87th Infantry Battalion (87IB) said in a statement on Thursday troops discovered the lair after several residents complained about the presence of armed NPA rebels extorting money and food supply.
“Residents told us that they can no longer bear the abuses of the NPA extorting food and money from indigent families,” Balido said.
Soldiers recovered five M-16 assault rifles, hundreds of assorted ammunition, a generator set, electronic gadgets, food, medicines, medical paraphernalia, and subversive documents.
No soldier was wounded in the clash with about 50 armed rebels, but authorities believe the NPA terrorists could have been wounded.
“The wounded must be treated. We call on the leadership of the NPA to let the wounded be treated adequately. Their lives are more important at this time than their passed ideology. There were many cases that their wounded end up dead and they just bury them in shallow graves or worse, they just leave them behind,” Balido added.
Balido said the series of surrenders and successful encounters in San Jose de Buan town came after Mayor Joaquin Elizalde withdrew his support to the communist terrorist group.
The mayor admitted supporting the NPA before as part of political survival, according to the military.
The town is known to be one of the strongholds of the NPA’s guerrilla front in Samar.
The NPA, which has been waging a five-decade armed struggle against the government, is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines.(Sarwell Meniano, PNA)