BUTUAN CITY: A ranking member of the communist New People’s Army (NPA) was killed in a firefight Wednesday afternoon in Barangay Motorpool, Tubod, Surigao del Norte.
Brig. Gen. George L. Banzon, the commander of the 901st Infantry Brigade (901Bde), said soldiers from the Army’s 30th Infantry Battalion (30IB) were responding to a civilian report on the presence of NPA rebels in the area when the encounter occurred.
“The firefight lasted for 25 minutes between the 30IB troopers and the members of Santahang Yunit Pampropaganda (SYP) C2 of Guerrilla Front (GF) 16 under Alberto Castaneda, alias JD,” Banzon said in a statement Thursday.
He identified the casualty as Christopher John Trugelio, a political instructor of SYPC2, and a resident of Barangay Quezon, Surigao City.
Government troops recovered from the encounter site a 9mm pistol, an improvised explosive dervice, communication gadgets, assorted ammunition and magazines, personal belongings, and subversive documents.
“No casualty was reported on the government side while pursuit operation is still ongoing in the area,” Banzon said.
Lt. Col. Charles Ryan G. Callanta, 30IB commander, underscored the importance of tipoffs from residents for immediate security response from the government, preventing the rebels from conducting atrocities.
“We want to ensure the safety and security of communities within the vicinity. The initial information revealed that the said group may possibly conduct atrocities in the area,” Callanta said.
Meanwhile, Banzon extended his condolences to the family of the slain NPA officer, adding that “another life is again wasted due to the senseless struggle being waged by the NPA and the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).”
“The use of violence will never resolve our problems and it will just make things complicated. The recent encounter that led to the untimely demise of another NPA may serve as a wake-up call for those CTG (Communist Terrorist Group) members who are still blinded by the wrong ideology,” Banzon said.
The NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand.