A joint operation by Philippine Army and Philippine National Police-Special Action Force (PNP-SAF) successfully prevented Daesh-inspired BIFF terrorist group from occupying the seat of the municipal government in Datu Puglas, Maguindanao on July 3.
According to 33rd Infantry Battalion (33IB), at around 5:00 am of July 3 the 1st Mechanized Infantry Brigade composed of 33IB or the Makabayan Battalion, 1st Mechanized Infantry Battalion, and the 4th Special Action Battalion held a combined arms operations against occupied positions of BIFF terrorists led by Sulaiman Tudon.
Lieutenant Colonel Harold M. Cabunoc, commander of 33IB, led the troops in their assault of enemy-held cluster of concrete houses in Sitio Mopac, Barangay Poblacion which is 500 meters away from Datu Puglas municipal hall.
“Supported by armored vehicles and infantry mortars, the house-to-house close quarter battle lasted about 9 hours in an area that is located in the middle of a rice field,” 33IB said.
Three were slightly wounded in the side of government.
33IB said that Philippine Air Force (PAF) armed choppers blasted remaining BIFF positions before the clearing operations by the ground forces at around 3 pm.
“We confronted enemy snipers and improvised bombs as we seized the areas that are previously occupied by the terrorists. We also wanted to contain the fighting outside of the highly populated area some 500 meters away,” Lieutenant Colonel Cabunoc said.
33IB said the government forces have maintained security patrols in the peripheries of the engagement area to facilitate the return of the internally displaced persons in collaboration with the local government authorities.
The Army also provided humanitarian assistance for the 500 people who sought refuge in Datu Puglas’ municipal gym.