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Army lauds Misamis Oriental villages in isolating NPA

July 14, 2019 - Sunday 8:07 AM by PNA

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CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – The cooperation of rural communities has greatly helped the military in isolating communist rebels operating in the provinces of Northern Mindanao, particularly in Misamis Oriental.

Capt. Leoden Bajado, civil-military officer of the Army’s 58th Infantry Battalion, said residents in hinterland villages in Misamis Oriental have been coordinating with government armed forces to curtail the movement of the New People’s Army (NPA).

Bajado cited the recent encounter between government troops and NPA rebels in Barangay Mat-i, Claveria town on Friday as another instance of "community’s vigilance and their desire to rid their place of insurgents."

Bajado said rural villagers around the region are no longer hesitant to provide the military with information on NPA sightings in their communities.

He said Friday's clash occurred at around 6:30 a.m., resulting in undetermined number of casualties on the part of the rebels and the wounding of a soldier.

He said the retreating NPA fighters also left behind some personal belongings such as backpacks, a piece of landmine, a grenade, a bandolier, and ammunition.

Bajado said the rebels belong to the Sentro de Grabidad and Manuel “Tamtam” Jabagat Command of Guerrilla Front 4B, NPA’s fighting units based in Misamis Oriental.

“These [NPA] units want to regain the trust and support of the communities who are now supporting the government’s peace efforts,” he said.

Under the 58IB jurisdiction, Bajado said there are now 136 NPA members and sympathizers,  who have surrendered to the government under the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-Clip) since 2017.

“We expect that number (of surrenderees) to increase in the coming days,” the Army official added.

Bajado also dismissed the report circulating on social media that the Claveria-Gingoog diversion road was not passable due to the fighting.

“There was no encounter near the highway. It happened in the mountains. That report was a disinformation effort concocted by the enemy to project that there is a widespread conflict,” he said. (PNA)