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Army seizes terrorist camp in Pangasinan town

November 24, 2020 - Tuesday 7:11 PM by PNA

Article Banner Image ARMED ENCOUNTER. Members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police set up checkpoints along the road near the combat area at Mangatarem town in Pangasinan on Tuesday (Nov. 24, 2020). A combat operation against the members of the terrorist group is ongoing. (Photo courtesy of Ahikam Pasion

MANGATAREM, Pangasinan – An armed encounter erupted Tuesday morning and is still ongoing between members of the New People’s Army (NPA) terrorist group and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) at the mountainous area in this town.

In an interview, Brig. General Audrey Pasia, Commander of the 702nd Infantry Brigade, said they received a report from indigenous people of an alleged camp of the rebel group at Barangay Lawang Langka in this town.

“Soldiers requested for artillery fire support after finding themselves outnumbered against an estimated 40 heavily armed communist terrorists hiding in the mountains of Barangay Lawang Langka. Additional forces were flown in by helicopters to provide close air support and reinforce the engaged troops,” he said.

Pasia said the members of the terrorist group were from Tarlac and Zambales who tried to take refuge in Pangasinan but were unwelcomed in the province as they were reported by the people.

“The place of encounter lies along the provincial tri-boundary of Pangasinan, Tarlac, and Zambales. Pangasinan is still insurgency-free and these terrorists have no place in Pangasinan,” he added.

As of this posting, there were no reported casualties as the combat operation is still ongoing, he said.

“Our forces are still scouring the area, the result of which will be the basis of the report which we will be submitting to higher headquarters,” he added.

Follow-on forces and K-9 assets have been deployed to conduct pursuit operations against the fleeing NPA  terrorists while checkpoints have been established along possible exit routes.

All of North Luzon Command’s (Nolcom ) military assets, including aircraft, are now on high alert.

“The soldiers’ ability to decisively engage the enemies of the state despite the ongoing humanitarian missions brought about by the series of typhoons is a testament to our collective commitment and high state of readiness to serve our people and secure this part of our land,” Major General Alfredo Rosario, Commander of the 7th Infantry Division, said in a statement issued Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Lt. Gen. Arnulfo Marcelo Burgos Jr., AFP’s Nolcom chief, said he hopes the encounter will lead the few remaining NPA terrorists to choose peace over conflict, avail of government grants, and lead normal lives together with their families.

“The fact that we are now receiving real-time information is a loud and clear warning to the few remaining NPAs in this part of the country to put down their arms and return to the folds of law while they still can because our soldiers can, and will, hunt them down even up to the most isolated corner and crevices of Northern and Central Luzon,” he said. Hilda Austria and Ahikam Pasion