From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 21): Govt forces press offensives vs NPA
Government forces continued Friday its pursuit operations against communist New Peoples Army (NPA) in the borders of North Cotabato and Davao City following the ambush of President Duterte’s security guards long the natoonal highway in Arakan, North Cotabato Wednesday, police said.
Senior Inspector Arjie Celeste, police chief of Arakan, North Cotabato, said joint elements of 39th Infantry Battalion and Arakan police are still in the village of Naplico where the rebels who fired at a convoy of Presidential Security Group in Barangay Katipunan, Arakan have fled.
A militiaman was killed after he was abducted by fleeing NPAs after the communist traded shots with members of the Presidential Security Group (PSG) at 6:30 a.m. Wednesday.
A civilian asset of PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), Rogelio Mago Genon, driving his orange Ford Ranger was flagged down by about 30 rebels. Believing they were truly government forces, the asset introduced himself and he was taken.
Celeste said the rebels were to flag down vehicles for highway robbery and extortion and that they were not aware the PSG personnel were passing by.
After they were flagged down, Sgt. Ferbello Galleno, team leader, noticed the soldiers with 3rd Infantry Battalion patches were too young for their ranks. They also displayed lousy uniforms.
Celeste said Galleno introduced themselves as members of the Philippine Army and tried to move forward but they were fired at by guerillas who positioned on one side of the road, covering in the drainage canal.
As the two-vehicle convoy move, the PSG opened fire on the rebels, starting a five minute firefight, Celeste said in a phone interview. Four PSG personnel, not five as reported earlier, were slightly injured, he added.
Then the rebels fled downward toward Barangay Naplico, bringing with them the CIDG asset and his pick-up. The pick-up vehicle was later recovered minus the alleged asset.
Elements of the 39th IB and Arakan PNP clashed with retreating rebels at about 11 a.m. leaving one NPA killed with explosives in his bag.
”We will continue pursuing them, there’s no let up,” Celeste said of the NPAs who belonged to guerilla Front 53 operating in the mountains of North Cotabato towns of Magpet, Arakan, Antipas and the slope of Mt. Apo.