CAMP SANG-AN, ZDS – Elements of the 97th Infantry Battalion (97IB) came in close contact with more or less 20 communist terrorist group (CTG) members in Purok 3, Brgy. Saad, Dumingag, Zamboanga del Sur, Wednesday afternoon, August 25.
The operation resulted in the recovery of one backpack, communist NPA terrorist (CNT) journals, assorted foodstuff, medical paraphernalia, medicine, one electric circuit tester, and the personal belongings of the terrorists.
According to Lt. Col. Manaros Boransing, 97IB Commanding Officer, they have encountered the same communist terrorist group in previous combat operations.
“This is the fifth armed encounter that the 97IB had with the same terrorist group last July 4, July 30, August 10, and August 18, and even in previous military operations,” said Boransing.
The said group operates in the municipalities of Sergio Osmeña and Katipunan of Zamboanga del Norte and in Dumingag, Zamboanga del Sur, where most of their members are from.
“We encourage the remaining CTG members to come down and surrender; we will guarantee their safety. The Army will not stop its combat operations against the terrorists,” he added.
The 15-minute firefight with the elements of 97IB incurred no casualties among the operating troops while there were undetermined casualties among the terrorist group.
Hon. Jeffrey Señara, Barangay Captain of Saad, also denounced the act of savagery of the NPA terrorists.
“We strongly condem the presence and atrocities of the NPA. We now utilize our Civilian Volunter Organization (CVO) and Barangay Defense System (BDS) to deter the NPA from commiting acts of terrorism and to protect our community,” said Señara.
The 102nd Infantry Brigade Commander, Brig. Gen. Leonel M. Nicolas, who has operational jurisdiction of Zamboanga Peninsula, said that the brigade will continue to push its momentum against the Western Mindanao Regional Party Committee (WMRPC) with the full support of the local government and populace.
Meanwhile, Maj. Gen. Gene M. Ponio, the 1st Infantry Division commander, lauded the 97IB for their exemplary performance during combat operations that inflicted a critical loss on the enemy’s belongings.
“The Communist Terrorist Group in our area of responsibility is dwindling. Likewise, we will sustain our efforts to defeat them the soonest,” said Ponio. “We understand that they are already tired and hungry; that is why we are offering them an alternative option, lay down your arms and return to the folds of the law,” he added.