ILOILO – The Philippine Army’s 61st Infantry Battalion (61IB) foiled the harassment plans of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA).
The government troops encountered around 15 members of the CPP-NPA under the Suyak Platoon, Southern Front and Komiteng Rehiyon Panay at Ongyod village in Miag-ao town on Friday.
Lieutenant Colonel Joel Benedict Batara, 61IB commanding officer, on Saturday said the firefight lasted around minutes.
The operating troops were conducting combat operations at the vicinity in response to reports from locals regarding the presence of armed communist rebels.
Batara said no casualty was recorded on the government side while reliable sources revealed there were allegedly several CPP-NPA members wounded.
He added the Army likely prevented the rebels from attacking the Century Peak Energy Company in nearby Igbaras town.
“Century Peak Energy Company is a hydro-energy plant in Igbaras. For the previous years, the company had been harassed by the rebels and fortunately, the troops are always there to respond,” Batara said.
He added the company had been receiving extortion letters from the rebels in the past years “but they never gave in to the demand.”
Aside from its planned harassment of a private company, Batara said the CPP-NPA allegedly plans to attack the Army and the Philippine National Police (PNP) detachments in the area.
“We are on alert because they might want to highlight their protests especially with the anniversary of the martial law,” he added.
The commanding officer said the local government unit of Miag-ao “has initial plans” to declare the CPP-NPA as “persona non grata.”
“Other municipalities are also planning to declare them (rebels) ‘persona non grata.’ In due time, the whole province of Iloilo, Antique and Capiz might declare the CPP-NPA as ‘persona non grata,’” he added.
Batara said towns and cities taking the initiative to declare such is a “good sign” on the anti-insurgency campaign of the government.(With a report from PNA/PN)