Prosperidad, Agusan Del Sur – The 3rd Special Forces “Arrowhead” Battalion troops conducting active defense patrol prior to the MSWD’s distribution of Social Amelioration Cash (SAC) encountered about 30 communist NPA Terrorists (CNTs) in Sitio Mikit, San Martin Propseridad, Agusan del Sur on April 17, 2020 at 6:35am resulting to the Army’s recovery of one (1) AK-47 rifle, two (2) M16-A1 Rifle with one (1) M203 grenade launcher, one (1) M653 rifle, 12 backpacks, 5 bandoliers with full assorted ammunitions and a commercial radio left by the CNTs in the encounter site after a 30 minute-firefight.
There were no casualties on the government troops while bloodstains from undetermined number of wounded CNTs are left from the encounter site. 3SFBn and Regional Mobile Force Battalion 13 (RMFB13) troops are still on hot pursuit.
According to prior information from civilians, the CNTs prepositioned in Sitio Mikit in order anticipate the LGU and MSWD’s scheduled distribution of the Social Amelioration Cash in the barangay and target the civilian recipients for extortion.
Further based on the reports of civilians, the CNTs extorts food supplies from nearby civilians who currently received relief goods from the government.
“Sapat lang sa aming pamilya ang relief goods hihingian pa nila kami ng mas marami,” a civilian who requested anonymity, said.
The strict implementation of localized enhanced community quarantine of various local government units, made it difficult for CNTs to procure supplies because of intensified quarantine checkpoints and their failure to secure quarantine passes. This prompted the CNTs to extort food from the relief goods received by the civilians.
Barangay San Martin along with 30 barangays of Prosperidad have declared the CNT personalities as persona-non grata earlier this year after the CNTs perpetrated the burning of dump truck owned by civilians in barangay Libertad last January 8.
“While we are battling the COVID-19, these Communist NPA Terrorists, make the situations worse for civilians, especially the poorest sectors, who are greatly affected of the Enhanced Community Quarantine,” LTC Joey B Baybayan INF GSC PA, 3SFBn Commanding Officer, said.
COL Allan D Hambala INF MNSA PA, 401st Infantry Brigade Commander said that the active defense security measures in line with the COVID-19 Task Force’s guidelines to maintain peace and order will ensure the safety and security of the delivery of the government’s continuous relief and social amelioration cash distribution for the people affected by the crisis.
“As frontliners in the security sector, it is our job to ensure the government’s safe delivery of relief services and the distribution of social amelioration cash to the affected sectors in the crisis. We must protect the civilians and government workers from any form of harassments and extortion of the CNTs who are the virus of the society,” Colonel Hambala, said.
It can be recalled that President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, during his public address, warned the CNTs and other destabilizers that the government will not hesitate to assert its will for those who will attempt to hamper the relief operations and the government’s efforts to address the COVID-19 crisis.
Meanwhile, the military and the local government continuously calls on the CNTs to surrender peacefully to receive benefits through the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program and to live a peaceful and normal life away from violence and the useless armed struggle.
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