From the Philippine News Agency (Apr 23, 2020): NPA firearms, IED recovered after Zambo Sur clash (By Leah Agonoy)
Government troops recovered an improvised explosive device (IED), high-powered firearms, and other war materiel following a clash against a group of New People’s Army (NPA) rebels in Zamboanga del Sur, officials said Wednesday.
Lt. Col. Manaros Boransing, the Army’s 97th Infantry Battalion commander, said the firefight broke out on Tuesday while the troops were responding to the reported presence of NPA rebels in Barangay Balukbahan, Bayog town.
“The locals are already complaining of the exploitation and abuse of the NPA, coercing them to provide money and food to feed the armed group while we’re on coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) crisis,” Boransing said.
He said the troops recovered an M16A1 assault rifle, an IED fashioned as a landmine, and other war materiel abandoned by the NPA rebels.
No one among the troops was killed or wounded.
Col. Leonel Nicolas, the Army’s 102nd Infantry Brigade commander, commended residents who "continuously take an active role in maintaining the peace and order situation in their communities by reporting the activities of the NPA rebels and other lawless elements."
“We will continue to put pressure on these terrorist groups to weaken their will to fight and force them to lay down their arms and abandon their useless armed struggle,” Nicolas said.
Maj. Gen. Generoso Ponio, commander of the Army’s 1st Infantry Division, also lauded the troops for their "relentless dedication in ensuring the safety and security of the communities in their area of responsibility."
“Again, I urge the remaining NPA members to return to the fold of the law and avail of the benefits of the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program,” Ponio said.
The NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United Kingdom, the European Union, the United States, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines.