NPA Killed, Captured; High Powered Firearms Seized in Series of Agnor Clash

BUENAVISTA, AGUSAN DEL NORTE – Series of encounters transpired after the troops of 23rd Infantry “Masigasig” Battalion (23IB), together with the 16th Infantry Battalion (16IB) under the operational control of 23IB conducted strike operations in the hinter areas of Buenavista, Agusan del Norte on 19-20 May 2021.

The troops received series of reports coming from concerned residents regarding the whereabouts of the Communist New People’s Army (NPA) Terrorists (CNTs) who are conducting wide extortion activities in Sitio San Vicente, Barangay Sangay, Buenavista, Agusan del Norte. The responding troops immediately proceeded to the area and conducted a strike operation and encountered more or less six (6) CNT members believed to be remnants of Guerrilla Front (GF) 4A led by Alias Baking (True Name: Jelan Pinakilid), at around 11:10 in the morning of May 19, 2021.

The firefight lasted for about five (5) minutes. Afterwhich, the enemy withdrew and traces of heavy bloodstains were also visible in the withdrawal route which strongly indicated that there were members of CNTs who suffered severe wounds while there was no casualty on the government side.

After the firefight, the 23IB troopers conducted checkpoint operations together with Agusan del Norte Police Provincial office (ADNPPO) and captured CNT member Mariel Catipan, 26, who is trying to escape from the government forces at vicinity of Barangay Guinabsan, Buenavista, Agusan del Norte on Wednesday (May 19). In addition, on the evening of the same day a CNT member, identified as Archie C. Penales Jr, male, 16 years old, the son of @SANO (TN: Archie B Perales) active member of GF88, NCMRC surrendered to the unit after the said encounter.

Subject personality was also present in Sitio San Vicente, Barangay Sangay of the same Municipality but hastily escaped from the group after they withdrew in different directions after their encounter against the government forces.

The said encounter resulted to the recovery of one (1) Rusi motorcycle, one (1) helmet, one (1) civilian pack bag, one (1) water tumbler, one (1) USB connector, two (2) cellular phones Android VIVO and Nokia model:1174, ten (10) pieces Sim Cards, and assorted personal clothing.

Both Catipan and Penales are now under the custody of the unit for documentation and proper disposition.

On the following day, May 20, 2021 at around 6:30 in the morning, the troops of 16IB OpCon to 23IB encountered more or less fifteen (15) CNTs believed to be elements of the remnants of GF4-A at Sitio Balatakan, Barangay Guinabsan, Buenavista, ADN.

The fresh firefight lasted for about fiftee (15) minutes and the enemies scampered towards different directions. It has been recognized that the said enemies were from the main group of CNTs who escaped from Sitio San Vicente’s encounter site.

The government troopers recovered one (1) NPA body count, two (2) AK-47 rifles, and three (3) CNT backpacks containing personal belongings.

The recovered cadaver of the slain NPA will be turned over to the Barangay Council of Baranngay Guinabsan headed by Punong Barangay Mariano Galinato for identification, proper disposition and burial.

Lt. Col. Julius Cesar C. Paulo, the Commanding Officer, 23IB extended his deepest sympathy to the bereaved family of the slain CNT.

“As much as possible, we don’t want lives to be wasted, because we don’t want to see families suffered from the loss of their family members and loved ones,” Paulo said.

He added that the 23IB has been making calls for the remnants of the CNTs in the area to surrender and accept the programs and services being offered by the government.

“For a couple of times, we have been calling the remnants of the CNTs to lay down their arms and go back to the folds of the law to avoid circumstances like this, but some are not heeding to it. If it takes a single life of an NPA in exchange for the freedom of many innocent civilians from the manipulation and exploitation of the armed group, then we will always adhere to tasks mandated to us, that is, to protect the people and secure the communities which were greatly affected by insurgency brought by these lawless CNTs so that everyone will have a chance to live peacefully,” Paulo said.

He also extended gratitude to the concerned residents who provided information regarding the whereabouts of the CNTs.

“The cooperation of the civilian residents is indeed a great help in ending the insurgency. I am glad that they are now bravely providing us positive and relevant information on the activities of the CNTs. Rest assured that the trust you’ve given us will never be in vain and we will also never expose your identity for your security against the threat of the armed group,” Paulo said.

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