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Wednesday, April 12, 2023

Philippine Army Neutralizes Communist Party Rebels in Agusan del Sur Encounter

The military operations of the Philippine Army's 4th Infantry Division (Diamond) has intensified, resulting in significant damage to the Communist Party of the Philippines - New People's Army Terrorists (CNTs). The 4ID troops, together with the 3rd Special Forces Battalion (3SFBn) and the 65th Infantry Battalion and 2nd Scout Ranger Battalion (2SRBn), neutralized two CNTs and recovered two high-powered firearms in an encounter in Sitio Vertudazo, Barangay San Juan, Bayugan City, Agusan del Sur on March 27, 2023. The joint operations were launched in response to persistent reports of armed elements present in the area, and about 18 CNTs were encountered during the operation.

BGen. Rommel Almaria, who heads the 401st Infantry Brigade, under whose operational control the 3SFBn falls, revealed that a 15-minute firefight led to the death of two unidentified CNTs, and the capture of various war materials, including an M4 carbine rifle, a modified carbine rifle, numerous ammunitions, magazines, and personal belongings. The troops are still conducting pursuit operations.

BGen. Almaria attributed the success of the operations to the Task Force - Ending Local Communists Armed Conflict (TF-ELCAC), which has resulted in developmental peace and projects for the people in the area. He emphasized the importance of the partnership with line agencies under the TF-ELCAC's auspices in defeating the CTG, gaining the people's trust and support by providing them with a conducive place to live that is economically developed and free from the threat and influence of the CTG.

BGen. George Banzon, who heads the 901st Infantry Brigade, under whose operational control the 65IB and 2SRBn fall, lauded the combined efforts of his troops and the 401st Brigade's 3SFBn. He believes that joint operations between and among units will effectively block the CTG's traditional routes and cut off their resources and supply generation. The goal is to defeat the CTG's smallest formations, and he intends to finish this fight. He acknowledged the gains made in their campaign and declared 2022 as 4ID's banner year but wants to capitalize on these gains and step up their efforts further.

Banzon also reached out to the remaining CTG members to peacefully lay down their arms and avoid violence, which will save lives on the path towards achieving peace. (Maj. Francisco Garello, Jr., DPAO, 4ID, PA/PIA-Agusan del Sur)

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