MALAYBALAY CITY, Bukidnon, Feb. 22 -- Government troops raided groups of New People's Army (NPA) at a forested hideout in Dumalaguing, Impasugong and Mount Kalatungan, all in Bukidnon province, killing a guerilla commander.
Col. Ferdinand Barandon, 403rd Infantry Brigade commander, identified the slain NPA leader as Renato Tilucan alias Sidlak, the commander of Sentro de Grabidad, Guerilla Front 68, North Central Mindanao Regional Committee.
It has been reported that the villagers repeatedly report to authorities about the presence of NPA rebels and that they are already fed up with the communist terrorist groups' (CTGs) deceits and extortion activities.
After validating such reports, the 403rd Infantry Brigade immediately launched simultaneous combat operations to flush out the terrorists from their lairs.
The military operations resulted in the seizure of the NPA rebels' hideouts, war materials, and personal kits.
Civilians also reported that they spotted groups of fleeing NPAs hastily passing through the sub-village with their dead and wounded comrades.
To ensure safety and protection of civilians while conducting the operations, Col. Barandon said they worked closely with the local government units in activating the municipal-based ICS (Incident Command System) that managed and supervised the delivery of basic services such as handling of an emergency evacuation, distribution of food packs to the internally displaced persons, and other emergency response to address specific operational gaps.
"While doing so, the AFP will do its best to avoid collateral damage and spare non-combatants who are in harm's way. This focused military operation is part of the government's relentless efforts against the NPAs or communist terrorist groups that continuously sow panic and fear, particularly in the province of Bukidnon. The AFP will utilize all its capabilities to ensure the safety and protection of people and their communities," the brigade commander said.
He emphasized that the Armed Forces of the Philippines will not hesitate to unleash its combat powers to finally put an end to the local communist armed conflict.
"I am therefore calling all NPA members to lay down their arms and tread the road to peace. Our government has ensured, through the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program or E-CLIP, that rebels who wish to go back to the mainstream society are given the right opportunities. A lot of your former comrades have availed of the said program and are already living normal lives," Col. Barandon said. (403rd Bde, PA/PIA Bukidnon)