By Ella Montalban, Bohol Island News | Posted on Oct. 24, 2019 at 08:02 p.m.
The tip from the civilian community helped the Philippine Army and the Philippine National Police (PNP) in locating the presence of the reported four armed men in Batuan town, Bohol on Thursday morning.
This resulted in an exchange of bullets between government forces and the said armed men at around 11:55 a.m. in Barangay Rizal, an interior barangay of the said town.
There was no casualty from the government troops of the Army’s 47th Infantry Battalion (47IB) and the PNP force.
Colonel Jerry Borja, commander of Task Group Cebu, Bohol, and Siquijor told Bohol Island News (BIN), that they are yet to establish the identity of these men.
Borja added they could not also discount the possibility that they are lawless elements hiding in the upland barangays or members of the armed rebel group – New People’s Army (NPA).
“Puwede. Possible. Og naa may mga NPA, mao ni katong mga nagpalamig pa gikan sa uban probinsya. Or kadtong mga disgruntled nga hingsibat,” he said in an interview.
Where could these men come from?
Borja explained since Bohol has many transit points, the province may have become their ingress and egress from different neighboring provinces.
He assured the Boholanos that the AFP and PNP are working together to secure Bohol.
“The AFP and PNP personnel are relentless in making Bohol secure and rebel-free,” he said.
He called on the armed men to surrender.
If they are indeed members of the NPA, he added the government has programs that they could avail to start a new life.
Meanwhile, the troops are still conducting a follow-up operation in pursuit of these men, as of this writing.