PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, July 23 — Blockading military forces in southern Palawan engaged armed militants of the New People’s Army (NPA) anew in a 25-minute firefight Sunday morning to prevent their escape from Bataraza town.
Captain Cherryl Tindog, spokesperson of the Western Command (WESCOM), confirmed the new clash happened more or less two kilometers off Sitio Kambingan, Barangay Malihud, in the said municipality.
“At about 7:20 a.m. this morning, a fresh encounter occurred between government troops and the armed militants in the mountainous areas of Malihud,” she said.
The enclave is a part of the said barangay where government forces seized on July 21 the training area for IED-making of the communist group.
The said date also marked the first encounter between the military forces and the insurgents at Sitio Ilyan, also in Malihud.
“Team WESCOM believes the CPP-NPA-NDF communist rebels are attempting to flee the Malihud vicinity, but are being held back by the military’s focused campaign with help from local residents who are providing pieces of information on their whereabouts,” she said.
No troop was injured during the latest encounter.
On July 18, a roadside bombing incident cause minor injury to a Marine soldier aboard an M-35 truck that was on its way to a humanitarian activity project in Bataraza.
It was followed on July 19 by an attack by the NPA that killed two Marines in Roxas, northern Palawan.
On Wednesday, WESCOM labeled the acts of violence of the NPA against government peacekeepers in Palawan as “shameless and gutless acts”.
Tindog said the communist-terrorists’ admission that it carried out the roadside bombing the killed two Marines is a desperate move because of the agony and torture of losing their active hideout and drill camp in Barangay Samariñana, Brooke’s Point last month.
“We, at the WESCOM, will continue with our focused civic military operations. We will not leave the areas, we will not stop, especially in providing humanitarian assistance to people in distant locations of Palawan,” Tindog added. (Celeste Anna R. Formoso/PNA)