The Philippine Army’s 402nd Infantry Brigade (402Bde) said it is pursuing the remaining fighters of the weakening New People’s Army (NPA) rebels in the hinterlands of Misamis Oriental and Agusan del Norte provinces.
Brig. General Maurito Licudine, 402Bde Brigade Commander issued the order on August 14, 2020, after the 58th Infantry Battalion (58IB) engaged the rebels in skirmishes in August 13-14, 2020 in Sitio Mangilet, Barangay Bal-ason in Gingoog City, Misamis Oriental.
Licudine said government troops engaged some 20 armed guerillas believed to be members of the NPA’s Guerrilla Front 4B in several skirmishes.
“An order was already sent to the engaged troops to scour the vicinity of the encounter site and pursue without letup the escaping Communist Party of the Philippines-NPA terrorists,” Licudine said on August 17, 2020.
“We will not give any chance for these terrorists to regroup and harass the residents in Barangay Bal-ason and the surrounding areas. We want these NPA terrorists pushed hard until they give up their arms and surrender to the government,” Licudine said.
Licudine said the NPA rebels “are now in distress, hungry and tired” after figuring in successive clashes with government troops,
Soldiers from the 58IB have the advantage to “track down, pursue and neutralize the fleeing NPA rebels,” Licudine said.
Licudine said the two-day skirmishes in the hinterlands of Gingoog bordering Agusan del Norte ensued after villagers reported the presence of the NPA rebels who were said to be conducting “harassments and extortion activities”.
In one of the firefights, Licudine said the fleeing rebels abandoned a dead comrade identified as Brenda Serenio, 24, a resident of Lagonglong town, Misamis Oriental.
Licudine called on the rebels to cease harassing communities and allow the government to send needed relief goods and services to poor residents who are affected by the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) crisis.
“Instead of paving the way for the help and services to reach remote barangays during this pandemic, these NPA terrorists are aggravating the hardships of the people by spreading fear through harassment and intimidation,” Licudine said.
“We encourage the populace to report to us the presence of these terrorists in your communities and surely we will act on them. They are none a pestilence than Covid-19.” Licudine said
The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines.