MAWAB, COMPOSTELA VALLEY PROVINCE – Combined troops of 28th and 66th Infantry Battalions engaged in a firefight with members of the NPA in Brgy Tagbinunga, Mati City, Davao Oriental (DOR) on Thursday, March 30. Two soldiers were hurt while troops recovered the dead body of an unidentified NPA rebel while a rebel who escaped from the encounter site gave himself up to another group of soldiers. On the same day, a minor female NPA member returned to the folds of law through the 701st Infantry Brigade stationed in Sitio Magay, Brgy Don Martin Marundan, Mati City.
The soldiers engaged in a 20-minute firefight a group of 40 NPA rebels belonging to Pulang Bagani Company (PBC) 6 in Sitio Bukadan of Brgy Tagbinunga. An IED explosion injured Pfc Jouie Oliveros and Pfc Anatoly Lechoncito who both suffered shrapnel wounds. The wounded soldiers were immediately airlifted to Camp Panacan Station Hospital, Davao City while the cadaver of the NPA rebel was brought to Padilla Funeral, Mati City.
An NPA member named Ricardo R. Bisaya alias Jonas, who is from Tarragona, DOR and was part of the group encountered by the troops surrendered to 28IB at Brgy Don Salvador Lopez, Mati City a few hours after the encounter. He averred that he surrendered for fear of his life after seeing several of his comrades hit during the encounter.
Reports have also reached 28IB that a number of families from the three Barangays of Don Salvador Lopez, Buso and Tagbinunga of Mati City have evacuated into safer areas. The Local Government Unit of Mati City, police and military are closely working together to facilitate and provide the immediate needs of the affected families.
Meanwhile, in a separate report from 701st Infantry Brigade, a minor female NPA identified by her alias as Shena, 14 and medic of PBC 6 returned to the folds of law. It may be recalled that her mother Leonila appeared before the Davao City media and appealed for the NPA to return her daughter who was recruited to join the rebel group last January 2017.
Major General Rafael Valencia, 10ID commander, lauded the bravery of the soldiers, prayed for the fast recovery of the wounded soldiers and expressed his support for the peaceful resolution of the armed conflict. “The 48 years of insurgency have only brought miseries to the Filipino people,” he added. “It is now time for the communists to abandon the armed struggle and pursue their political objectives through peaceful means,” MGen Valencia concluded.