Army troops clash with NPAs, high-powered firearms recovered

A 20-minute firefight transpired between soldiers and NPA terrorists in Catanauan, Quezon at around 2:20 a.m. Sunday.

The government troops were acting on reports from concerned citizens about the location of a terrorist harbour area at Brgy San Vicente Kanluran of said municipality when the encounter happened.

Brigadier General Norwyn Romeo P Tolentino, Commander of the 201st Infantry Brigade which has operational jurisdiction over the area, said that his forces recovered an M14 rifle, magazines with ammunition for M16 rifle, IED components and other personal effects which the fleeing terrorists left behind.

“We believe that the NPA terrorists, belonging to Platun Japson, suffered multiple casualties — something which we are still validating through our assets from the ground — while none was recorded on the part of the government”, said BGen Tolentino.

He ended his statement by attributing the success of military campaign in his area to the “active collaboration at all levels, particularly the Local Government Units, in the implementation and operationalization of Provincial Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict or PTF-ELCAC thereby denying the communist terrorists the space that they need to thrive and further their terroristic plans in this part of the country.”

Lieutenant Colonel Emmanuel Cabahug, Commanding Officer of 85IB, said that the more or less 20 NPAs which the troops encountered were under a certain Joseph Delos Santos alias Ken/Bingot, Platoon Leader of Platun Japson of SRMA-4B and a former Special Partisan Unit or SPARU, who is believed to be the mastermind of numerous communist atrocities that were perpetrated in Quezon Province in the past.

Major General Arnulfo Marcelo B Burgos Jr, Commander of the Philippine Army’s 2nd Infantry (Jungle Fighter) Division, expressed his gratitude to the “patriots who disregarded their personal safety to pass the information to our troops knowing that our society will be better off without the extortion, coercion and other terroristic actions perpetrated by the NPAs.”

He also congratulated his soldiers for being steadfast in accomplishing their mission as advocates of peace, servants of the people and defenders of Southern Tagalog while assuring their constituents of the troops’ commitment and dedication to attain peace, prosperity and development in the region.

MGen Burgos ended his statement by reiterating his call to the few remaining NPA terrorists “to lay down your arms, live peacefully with your families, avail government grants through E-CLIP and be part of the solution to the problems that our country is facing because the soldiers will never hesitate to use our full military might and resources against any individual or group whose intentions are to harm our people, disrupt progress and spoil the peace in our communities.”

Joint AFP-PNP checkpoints have been established in the area to support the ongoing pursuit operations against the escaping NPA terrorists.

All available military assets have been placed on high alert. 2ID