CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – The Army's 8th Infantry Battalion (8IB) has urged the remaining New People Army (NPA) combatants in Bukidnon province to surrender in time for the Christmas season.
In a statement Monday, Lt. Col. Anthony Bacus, the 8IB commander, said military operations in the province will continue to inflict major setbacks on the remnant NPA groups.
"We are relentlessly calling all remaining rebels to lay down their arms and embrace peace and celebrate Christmas with your family. Our government is here to assist you in your reintegration into the mainstream (society)," Bacus said.
On Nov. 17, three NPA fighters surrendered in Barangay Poblacion, Impasugong town, They are identified as Roel Saavedra, 26, vice commanding officer of Platoon 1, North Central Mindanao Regional Command; Raul Litionia, 23, its Bravo team leader; and Irine Almahan Haguilay, 21, a member of the same group.
The surrenderers told the 8IB they can no longer endure extreme hunger and exhaustion as a result of relentless military operations.
"I had come to realize the promises of the group that until now nothing happened and (instead) my family got broken," Saavedra said.
On Nov. 15, various rebel war matériel and other personal belongings were also seized following a clash between government troopers and the NPA rebels in Barangay Busdi, Malaybalay City.
The focused military operation was the result of a tip-off from civilians.
During follow-up operations the next day, another clash erupted against the NPA, prompting the troops to call for close air support from the Philippine Air Force attack helicopters.
The two encounters resulted in the capture of the NPA's hideouts and the recovery of various war matériel.
Seized were an AK-47 rifle, three hand grenades, two improvised explosive devices, two handheld radios, three bandoliers with ammunition and a mobile phone, among others.
There were no reported military casualties in the clashes, while those from the NPA's side remain unknown. (PNA)