THE Philippine Army (PA) intensified its security operations in the Davao region in the wake of the increasing number of clashes between soldiers and the New People’s Army (NPA), an official said on Saturday.
Captain Rhyan Batchar, Army 10th Infantry Division (10ID) public affairs chief, said that on Feb. 11, three armed clashes were reported in Pantukan town, Compostela Valley province and Jose Abad Santos in Davao Occidental.
Batchar said the first encounter took place in Barangay Napnapan, Pantukan town when a group of NPA rebels fired at the Detachment of 5th CAFGU Active Auxiliary (CAA) Company, 72nd Infantry Battalion in Sitio Riverside.
Another firefight ensued at around 2:30 p.m. in Sitio Post when patrolling elements of 46th Infantry Battalion encountered the fleeing guerrillas led by one alias Raden that earlier harassed the CAFGU detachment.
No casualty was reported among government forces.
Another encounter between government troops and the NPA rebels took place at 1:40 p.m. on the same day, when soldiers from the 73rd Infantry Battalion figured in a 35-minute firefight with the rebels belonging to Guerrilla Front 71 of Far South Mindanao Region (FSMR) in Sitio Binaloy, Barangay Marabatuan, Jose Abad Santos.
Batchar said one soldier – Cpl. Joel Camus – was injured while the rebels who scampered in different directions were believed to have incurred several casualties.
On Feb. 12, soldiers of Alpha Company, 67th Infantry Battalion were conducting peace and development outreach program (PDOP) in Sitio Km 28, Barangay Panansalan in Compostela when they were fired upon by a group of NPA. A 15-minute exchange of fire ensued that prompted the rebels to flee.
The military earlier reported a series of clashes between soldiers under 10ID and the NPA on Feb. 3, 6, 7, 9 and 10 in Davao region.
Three government troops died and four were wounded during the skirmishes that also resulted in the killing of two rebels, and the capture of one NPA “child soldier” and recovery of two high-powered firearms.
“The increase in the number of clashes between the soldiers and the NPA is a result of the intensified security operations of the 10th Infantry Division against the communist rebels in Davao Region,” Batchar said.
Meanwhile, Major General Rafael Valencia, commander of the 10th ID said that the intensified security operations have brought the fighting to the NPA guerrilla bases in Compostela Valley province and Davao Occidental.