By Helen Castaño, in Bilar | 08:43 PM May 25, 2021
At least 53 families were displaced from their homes in a village of Bilar town, Bohol province following a clash between government troops and New People’s Army (NPA) rebels on Tuesday morning, May 25.
The 2-hour clash occurred in Sitio Langub of Barangay Cabacnitan, resulting in the death of 5 NPA members. It also wounded one Army soldier.
Zosima Sumagang, Cabacnitan village chief, said the displaced families have sought refuge at the village hall and some of their relatives.
She said the villagers are still afraid to return home as tension remains high because Army troopers are still pursuing the rebels, who are still believed holed up in a forested part of the village.
Sumagang explained they are still waiting for a go-signal from the authorities when it will be safe to go home.
She said food packs were given to the evacuees from the municipal government.
1Lt Elma Grace Remonde, spokesperson of 47th Infantry(Katapatan) Battalion, said army soldiers conducted a security operation in Barangay Cabacnitan when they encountered 11 armed men.
The successful 30-minute running gun battle resulted to wounding of one (1) personnel from the government side while yielded a total of five (5) NPAs killed whose identity are yet to be identified; and captured of high-powered firearms such as – two (2) M16 Rifles with four (4) loaded magazines, five (5) Cal. 45 pistols. Further, war materials were also captured from the encounter site such as one (1) hand grenade; two (2) handheld radios; three (3) AK47 magazines with ammunitions; six (6) cellular phones; two (2) bandoliers; one (1) backpacks and other personal belongings, one (1) laptop; CTG documents of high intelligence value; cooking paraphernalia with rice and other food supplies, first aid kits and medicines.
The encounter was a result of the active cooperation of the civilian populace to maintain the peace and order in the barangay. These group of NPAs are responsible of the killings of the civilians including those hardworking innocent peace advocates who were killed in the recent ambush transpired in Barangay Aloja, Batuan.
Likewise, the 47IB expressed its deep gratitude to the community whose timely information and full cooperation has been vital to the success of the said engagement.
The 47IB said it is now taking actions to send the dead bodies to their families and facilitated the financial or any immediate assistance from the provincial and local government.
“We urge our fellow Boholanos to continuously report these CTGs who have been threatening our people in the countryside. We also encourage a more strengthened collaboration of all the national and local government departments to address the roots of insurgency and end the local communist armed conflict. The peace initiatives are not only an army’s duty but it is also a duty of the community. For as long as there are masses who supports them including politicians and even businessmen, their illegal and terroristic activities will continue to hamper the ongoing peace and development in the area,” the 47th IB said in a statement.