Ipil, ZSP – The Army’s 97th Infantry Battalion clashed with undetermined number of New People’s Army (NPA) in Barangay Balukbahan, Bayog, Zamboanga del Sur, Tuesday afternoon, April 21, 2020.
The troops were conducting security patrol after receiving series of informations from the locals regarding the presence of armed group who were conducting extortion activities in their communities.
“The locals are already complaining on the exploitation and abuse of the NPA, coercing them to provide money and food to feed the armed group while we’re on COVID-19 crisis,” said LtCol Manaros Boransing, Commanding Officer, 97IB.
According to Boransing, there were no casualties on the government troops while it remains undetermined on the enemy’s side.
The troops were able to recover one (1) M16A1 assault rifle, one (1) Improvised Explosive Device (IED) and other war materiel.
Colonel Leonel Nicolas, Commander of the Army’s 102nd Infantry Brigade, who has operational jurisdiction of Zamboanga del Sur said that “This demonstrates that the people of Zamboanga Peninsula are continuously taking an active-role in maintaining the peace and order situation in their communities.”
“We will continue to put pressure to these terrorist group to weaken their will to fight and force them to lay down their arms and abandon their useless armed struggle,” Nicolas added.
Major General Generoso “Gene” Ponio, Commander, 1st Infantry Division commended the troops with their relentless dedication in ensuring the safety and security of the communities in the area of responsibility.
“Again, I urge the remaining NPA members to return to the folds of law and avail the benefits of the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program,” Ponio said.
“The Tabak troopers will remain resolute in its mandate of protecting the people and securing the land against all kind of threats,” Ponio added.
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