4 soldiers, 1 NPA killed in Bukidnon encounter PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 05 December 2014 13:50

Troops from the Philippine Army’s 10th Infantry Division on Thursday intensified its pursuit and security operations against communist rebels who killed four soldiers during a landmine roadside attack that sparked a gunbattle on Wednesday in the northeastern province of Bukidnon, one of seven hotbeds of comunist insurgency in the island of Mindanao.

Maj. Ezra Balagtey, military spokesman, said that troops from the Army’s 68th Infantry Battalion securing a road construction that would link the town of San Fernando in Bukidnon and Talaingod town in Davao Norte province, clashed with New People’s Army guerrillas in the village of Makalungay early morning.

Balagtey said the soldiers were responding to an information that NPA rebels are set to burn the heavy equipment pooled in Makalungay, when a landmine exploded, triggering a 5-minute firefight

He said the landmine hit the soldiers’ KM450 vehicle

He added that after the gunbattle, the soldiers recovered an M653 rifle and several back packs belonging to the fleeing rebels

Balagtey said that one rebel was killed in the firegfight. Three other soldiers wounded along with the four fatalities were due to the landmine explosion, he said.

The military spokesman said the rebels scampered in different directions leaving the equipment intact and undamaged.    Moreover, Balagtey said they received information after the firefight that one body and about 17 wounded NPA guerrillas were seen by villagers being treated at the Makalungay Elementary School.

“Troops of 68th IB intensified its pursuit to locate the wounded and escaping bandits and the possible retrival of the reported NPA’s body,” he said.

He added that they are running after the rebels to prevent them from causing the delay of the development in the area.

Balagtey explained that upon his assumption as commander of the military’s Eastern Mibdanao Command, General Aurelio Baladad ordered all units to intensify the security of different flagship and other government projects especially those that would benefit the marginalized sector.

In statement read by Balagtey, Baladad slammed the NPAs “for their terroristic and anti-development acts.”

“The NPAs  are double talking, the projects are for the people, this is for the good of the community that they claim they are fighting for, and yet they continue to sabotage it. These NPAs are anti-development the reason why the indigenous tribes in the countryside are being marginalized.” Baladad said

“The death of our soldiers securing the project will not be put in vain. This supreme sacrifice they have demonstrated will be the bastion of  peace and progress in Eastern Mindanao. While we grieved for their  loss we remain steadfast in our quest to achieve our mission for secure and progressive communities of Eastern Mindanao,” Baladad said