CAMP MELCHOR DELA CRUZ, Gamu, Isabela - Government soldiers on Thursday rescued an injured deputy leader of a Communist Party of the Philippines - New People's Army (CPP-NPA) band while scouring the mountains of the Cordillera and Ilocos regions, the military said Friday.
Capt. Karol Jay Mendoza Jr., civil-military operations officer of the Army's 54th Infantry Battalion, said Avelino Cruz, alias Junel/Alcaras, was the vice commander of a group that fought government troops and was left behind by his comrades after being injured as they withdrew from the scene of the encounter.
Cruz belongs to the CPP-NPA's Guerrilla Front Abra - Mountain Province - Ilocos Sur (GF-AMPIS) under the Ilocos-Cordillera Regional Committee and was seen and extricated by soldiers in Asipulo, Ifugao.
In a phone interview, Mendoza said the rebel is in a stable condition at the Veterans' Regional Hospital in Nueva Vizcaya.
"If he was not seen and saved by the Army soldiers on May 26, he would have died by loss of blood due to his broken leg as he was left out by his comrades," he said.
Cruz is facing charges for multiple murder, multiple frustrated murder, and attempted murder before various courts in the Cordillera and Ilocos.
Meanwhile, soldiers gave food and other assistance to the families who had evacuated to the Namal Elementary School when two firefights erupted between troops and communist guerillas on May 23 and 24.
Likewise, the 54th Infantry Battalion turned over the guns and other materiel seized during the clashes to the Asipulo police as evidence for various cases to be lodged against the insurgents.
These included two M-16 Armalite rifles, an M-653 Baby Armalite rifle, a rifle grenade, two hand grenades, and six anti-personnel landmines.
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.
The NDF has been formally designated as a terrorist organization by the Anti-Terrorism Council on June 23, 2021, citing it as "an integral and inseparable part" of the CPP-NPA created in April 1973. (PNA)