By MARTIN A. SADONGDONG
Despite an earlier announcement of Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founder Jose Maria Sison of a supposed “truce,” a firefight involving elements of the 39th infantry battalion (39IB) and alleged New People’s Army (NPA) guerillas was reported in Digos City, Davao del Sur on Good Friday.
In the report, Captain McGary Dida, civil-military operations (CMO) officer of the 1002nd Infantry Brigade, 10th Infantry Division, said the encounter happened early morning in Barangay Goma while the 39th infantry battalion (39IB) was conducting reconnaissance patrol in the area.
Prior, civilians reported NPA members were roaming the area supposedly to sow terror against private companies that failed to meet their extortion demands.
“While the troops of the 39IB (were) conducting security operation towards Barangay Goma, they (encountered) the armed terrorists. The firefight lasted (for) 30 minutes,” Dida said.
A soldier identified as Corporal Geronimo Calonse Jr. was injured in the skirmish according to Dida.
Dida said an “undetermined number of (casualties)” were recorded on the enemy side.
Pursuit operation is now ongoing against the fleeing NPA fighters.
Meanwhile, high-ranking military officers in the region called for the members of the NPA to surrender to authorities.
“For those wounded terrorists and some others who are still hiding right now, it is high time for you to peacefully surrender and bring down your fire arms to the folds of law and avail the Comprehensive Local Integration Program (CLIP) of our government,” Lieutenant Colonel Rhojun Rosales, commander of the 39IB, said.
On his part, Brigadier General Roberto Ancan, 1002nd Brigade Commander, stated the NPAs “who are terrorizing our country shall be dealt with according to the provisions of the law.”
He said the 10ID has intensified its focus military operations to thwart the NPA.