The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) had an encounter with members of the New People’s Army (NPA) terrorist group at the mountainous area in Mangatarem, Pangasinan.
Brig. General Audrey Pasia, Commander of the 702nd Infantry Brigade, said in an interview that they received a report from indigenous people of an alleged NPA camp at Barangay Lawang Langka.
“Soldiers requested for artillery fire support after finding themselves outnumbered against an estimated 40 heavily armed communist terrorists hiding in the mountains of Barangay Lawang Langka. Additional forces were flown in by helicopters to provide close air support and reinforce the engaged troops,” he said.
Pasia said the NPA rebels were from Tarlac and Zambales who tried to take refuge in Pangasinan but were unwelcomed in the province as the residents reported them.
“The place of encounter lies along the provincial tri-boundary of Pangasinan, Tarlac, and Zambales. Pangasinan is still insurgency-free, and these terrorists have no place in Pangasinan,” he added.
“Our forces are still scouring the area, the result of which will be the basis of the report which we will be submitting to higher headquarters,” he added.
Additional forces and K-9 assets have been deployed to conduct pursuit operations against the fleeing NPA rebels, while checkpoints have been established along possible exit routes in Pangasinan.
AFP seizes NPA camp in Pangasinan
All of North Luzon Command’s (Nolcom ) military assets, including aircraft, are now on high alert.
“The soldiers’ ability to decisively engage the enemies of the state despite the ongoing humanitarian missions brought about by the series of typhoons is a testament to our collective commitment and high state of readiness to serve our people and secure this part of our land,” Major General Alfredo Rosario, Commander of the 7th Infantry Division, said in a statement issued Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Lt. Gen. Arnulfo Marcelo Burgos Jr., AFP’s Nolcom chief, said he hoped the encounter would lead the few remaining NPA rebels to surrender and accept the government’s help a new life with their families.
“The fact that we are now receiving real-time information is a loud and clear warning to the few remaining NPAs in this part of the country to put down their arms and return to the folds of law while they still can because our soldiers can, and will, hunt them down even up to the most isolated corner and crevices of Northern and Central Luzon
,” he said.