Gov’t troops clash with NPAS in Bohol
CORTES, Bohol, June 28 (PIA) — Foraging in the hinterland barangays near the borders of Bilar, Batuan, Balilihan and Catigbian where the thick forests of Loboc watershed provide protection and harbor and pushed by hunger pangs and the easy life of extortion using their weapons to instill fear, an undetermined group tried the proven fear factor in Brgy. Bayawahan, Sevilla town on June 26, 2020 to a dismal failure.
Having had enough of the fear, residents were not cowered in fear and found a way to slip out reports to internal security operators about the armed men forcefully asking for food and threatening those who refused to give in.
A report from the Philippine Army through Civil Military Operations and Information Officer, First Lieutenant Elma Grace Remonde, bared that troops of 47th Infantry Battalion, while conducting security operations and confirmation of the presence of the extortionists, encountered an undetermined number of the New People’s Army at 5:45 p.m. in the forested parts of the barangay.
The elements of 47th Infantry (Katapatan) Battalion were directed to verify the numerous reports from the civilian populace regarding the presence of armed men in the area who were forcefully asking for food and threatening those who refused to provide, she said.
The government troops then engaged the rebels in a ten-minute gunfight, as the rebels retreated to the thick forests.
At the army clearing operations, the government troops recovered one caliber 45 pistol, two caliber 45 magazines, one rifle grenade ammunition, three cell phones, two solar panels, personal belongings, and subversive documents.
Troops also discovered a harboring area with two posts and bunkers that can accommodate 20 persons.
Lt. Col. Allan J. Tabudlo, the Commanding Officer of 47th Infantry Battalion, expressed his disgust over the terroristic activities of the NPAs in Bohol.
“I’m sorry to know that despite our current pandemics of COVID-19, they still threaten our countrymen, forcibly demanding food despite the present misery of the people. It is sad to think that we still have fellow citizens who believe in them instead of being with their loved ones in times of crisis,” said Tabudlo.
Said to be the third armed encounter in Bohol since the island province was declared “Insurgency-Free” in 2010, the encounter proved that the rebels have resorted to extortion, knowing that Boholanos this time are not anymore as hospitable to the terrorists.
“I call upon our fellow Filipinos in the mountains who still believed in that fraud ideology to come down and return to the community to live in peace with their families,” Tabudlo added.
Tabudlo’s call is consistent with the Presidential directive to end local communist armed conflict for a peaceful Philippines.
In a radio interview, Remonde shared that there were reports of residents evacuating the area for fear they could be caught in the crossfire.
She also confirmed that locals are strongly supporting the campaign for genuine and lasting peace in the island of Bohol by reporting the presence of the rebels, something which would have been unthinkable in the past years.
As the Army continues mapping up pursuit operations, officials assured that the Army would remain responsive to the call of the people to be their able partners in securing Bohol and the Boholanos. (rahc/PIA-7/Bohol with Lt. Remonde)