South Cotabato NPA lair dismantled

CAMP SIONGCO, Maguindanao — State troops recovered a firearm and bomb-making materials from a New People’s Army hideout following a brief firefight in the South Cotabato town of Lake Sebu, according to the military.

Lt. Col. Zandro Alvez, commander of the Philippine Army’s 5th Special Forces Battalion, said the soldiers clashed with about 20 NPA rebels in Sitio Uhay, Barangay Ned, Lake Sebu, on Wednesday.

“Our troops encountered NPA rebels under the Far South Mindanao Region led by Manuel Fernandez alias Bobo or Ampog,” Alvez said, adding that Fernandez is the current secretary of the NPA’s FSMR.

After a 20-minute firefight, the rebels retreated deep into the forest, leaving behind an M16 rifle, homemade bomb components, subversive documents, and personal items at the encounter site.

“No casualty was reported on the government side,” Alvez said, adding that they are still trying to determine if the rebels suffered casualties.

Brigadier General Pedro Balisi Jr., commander of the 1st Mechanized Infantry Brigade, said the military operation against communist rebels would continue without let up.

“We will not hesitate to fight the rebels under the FSMR to prevent them from committing terroristic acts,” Balisi said.

Major General Roy Galido, the Army’s 6th Infantry Division commander, has urged the rebels to avail of the government’s peace offer, so they can live peacefully with their families in the mainstream.

The 6ID covers the provinces of Maguindanao and North Cotabato, and parts of Sultan Kudarat, South Cotabato, Sarangani, and Lanao del Sur.

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