FIVE alleged members of the New People’s Army (NPA) were killed in an armed encounter with government troops in Barangay Cabacnitan, Bilar, Bohol at dawn Tuesday, May 25, 2021.
A soldier was wounded in the skirmish, which took place near the town of Batuan, which military officials described as a hotbed of communist rebels.
A video that captured the sound of the gunfight, which occurred around 5:30 a.m., spread on social media.
Three of the fatalities were identified as John Carlo Paanuel, alias Atom from Sagbayan; Christian Bautista, alias Brian from Inabanga; and Romeo Nabas, alias Marlon from Batuan.
Two of the fatalities were only known by their aliases Mia and Bucar.
Seized from them were two M16 rifles, five .45 pistols, a bandolier, three short magazines of M16 rifles with 30 rounds of ammunition, six cell phones and a grenade.
Other items found were a laptop, handheld radio and “subversive documents with high intelligence value.”
The name of the wounded soldier was withheld by the military.
Philippine Army Lt. Grace Remonde, information officer of the 47th Infantry Battalion, said that before the encounter happened, they had received a report from residents about the presence of armed men.
A team of soldiers was dispatched to Cabacnitan. While patrolling, the team encountered around 11 armed men who suddenly opened fire.
Remonde said the patrol team members defended themselves by retaliating, which resulted in the deaths of the five men.
The army officer said around six armed men retreated and fled into the mountains of Batuan and Bilar.
Remonde said they have not allowed civilians to enter Cabacnitan as they are still conducting the clearing operations to make sure there is no more armed person in the barangay.
At least 21 families were evacuated to the Cabacnitan barangay hall.
Remonde said the Philippine Army has monitored at least 30 NPA rebels in Bohol; the government forces are looking for them.
The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on May 24 said 84 percent of the 1,715 provinces, cities and municipalities nationwide have passed resolutions through their local legislative bodies condemning the atrocities of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front and declaring them persona non grata in their respective localities.
In a virtual press conference organized by the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) Media Bureau, DILG Undersecretary and NTF-ELCAC Spokesperson Jonathan E. Malaya said a total of 1,436 local government units (LGUs) have passed resolutions condemning the atrocities of communist terrorist groups (CTGs) and declared them persona non grata, while the remaining 279 LGUs are in various stages of deliberation in their respective provincial, city and municipal councils.
“The resolutions of LGUs are solid proof of the condemnation of the CTGs and the resolutions belie the false claims of the Communist terrorists that they are supported by the people,” Malaya said.
The NPA is the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines. It was was founded on March 29, 1969 by CPP founder Jose Maria Sison and Hukbalahap (Hukbong Bayan Laban sa Hapon), a communist guerilla movement formed by Central Luzon farmers that originally fought the Japanese Imperial forces and later waged a rebellion against the post-World War 2 Philippine government.
The United States government has designated the NPA as a terrorist group.
CPP states in its constitution and program that the NPA is its “main weapon in the seizure and consolidation of political power. It wields the basic alliance of the working class and the peasantry. In the countryside, it shall create the conditions for establishing the people’s democratic state by waging armed struggle, facilitating agrarian revolution and helping build organs of political power and revolutionary mass organizations.”
The NPA operates in the Philippine countryside, employing a Maoist military strategy—maintaining the population’s support and luring the enemy (government forces) to the countryside where the people would defeat them through guerilla and mobile warfare tactics. (AYB / KAL with PR)