The troops of 23rd Infantry “Masigasig” Battalion (23IB) captured one New People’s Army (NPA) and seized firearm and ammunitions in an encounter at around 10:00 o’clock in the evening of April 30, 2021, in a remote area of Barangay Consorcia, Las Nieves, Agusan del Norte.
The clash transpired while the troops from 23IB were conducting combat clearing operations in the said area. The government forces encountered at least 20 armed NPA rebels who immediately retreated from their position after the 10-minute gun battle.
One NPA member later identified as Jesar Jumawan Sumonod, alias BOK/J5, a member of SRSDG SAGAY, NCMRC was captured by the troops after the gunfight. The soldiers also recovered one (1) Cal. 5.56mm; M16 rifle with scope; two (2) backpacks containing personal belongings; 300-meter electrical wire, and assorted live ammunitions.
Traces of heavy bloodstains were also visible along the withdrawal route which indicates that there were NPA rebels who suffered severe wounds.
Moreover, the captured NPA member was turned over to the Las Nieves Municipal Police Station for the filing of appropriate criminal charges.
It can be recalled that in the morning of the same day, the 23IB, together with the Local Government Unit (LGU) of Las Nieves, the Provincial Government of Agusan del Norte, the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the members of the council of Barangay Consorcia welcomed the surrender of 14 Milisya ng Bayan (MBs) and the withdrawal of support of 325 members of Underground Mass Organizations (UGMOs) in a pledge of allegiance ceremony held in Barangay Consorcia.
Lt. Col. Julius Cesar C Paulo, Commanding Officer of 23IB, expressed gratitude to the residents for the cooperation they manifested in the efforts to finally end the local communist armed conflict. “I’m glad that the residents of Barangay Consorcia pledged loyalty to the government truthfully and with honesty. They showed sincerity in their decision to finally cut their ties with the NPA rebels.” Paulo said.
He also made an assurance of the continued support of the 23IB, especially on security, to protect the lives and properties of the innocent civilians in the area. “Our efforts have gained positive result. You should not be afraid of the CPP-NPA Terrorists, instead they should be the ones who should be afraid to penetrate in your barangay. I ask you to continue to cooperate with your Army. We will never stop chasing the remaining terrorists in your place until they are finished. We have to guard the peace that we already won and we need to work together to sustain the gains that we are enjoying now so that the next generation will benefit from it without the fear of being used and exploited,” Paulo added.
He also asked the remaining NPA members in the area to lay down their arms, return to the mainstream society, and live peacefully with their families.
“Our unit is always open to welcome you once you decide to live peacefully. The government will provide you with services, including financial and livelihood assistance to start your new life. The 52 years of insurgency is more than enough, many have already suffered from it. Stop spreading your propaganda and false ideologies to innocent civilians. Stop destroying the lives of the youth, victimizing and recruiting them to be part of your senseless cause. This is the best time to make a change. Let us try to be united and live harmoniously,” Paulo concluded. (Capt. Roel Maglalang, CMO 23IB)