Thursday, February 4, 2016

46th IB Clash with NPAs; 3 Soldiers Killed, 4 Others Hurt

MAWAB, COMPOSTELA VALLEY PROVINCE - Operating troops of 46th Infantry (PEACEMAKER) Battalion engaged in a series of clashes with NPAs belonging to Pulang Bagani Command 3 of the Southern Mindanao Regional Committee (SMRC) in Pantukan, Compostela Valley Province (CVP) on Wednesday, February 3, 2016.

The first incident happened at Sitio Sapang Tin-aw, Brgy Tibagon, Pantukan at around 1 o'clock in the afternoon when a platoon of soldiers encountered around 60 NPAs. The exchange of fires lasted for 30 minutes and forced the rebels to scampered in different directions. While the soldiers were clearing the enemy positions, the withdrawing NPAs detonated IEDs killing two soldiers and wounding two others.

The second incident happened at around 6 o'clock in the evening at Sitio Biasong, Barangay Napnapan, Pantukan when around 10 NPAs fired upon a platoon of soldiers from Bravo Company, 46IB. After a five-minute firefight the rebels withdrew going north and burned two houses at Purok 7 of the same sitio during their escape.

In the first incident, First Lieutenant Ralph Pantonial and Pfc Eulezys Bantulo were killed in action while Private First Class Sabido and Corporal Velunta were wounded. Private First Class Moreno was killed in the second incident.

These incidents confirmed the assessment of the 10ID that large formations of NPAs are in Pantukan. This conclusion was made after a series of unfounded allegations of Human Rights Violations committed in Pantukan were made by Karapatan-SMR against 46IB last week and early this week. These deceptive propaganda were intended to distract 46IB and divert its focus away from its efforts to help bring peace and development in the said municipality. As a result 46IB tried to look for these armed groups to drive them away from populated areas to protect and secure the people.

Col. Alberto Macairog, commander of the 1001st Infantry Brigade said that these incidents will not deter the peace initiatives of 1001st Brigade and 46th Infantry Battalion and will continue their efforts to help bring basic services and development projects to the people. "The encounters showed the bravery of 1Lt. Pantonial, Pfc. Bantulo and Pfc. Moreno, who are heroes by making the ultimate sacrifice for the people of Compostela Valley Province," he added.

MGen. Rafael Valencia, 10ID commander expressed his grief on the death of the soldiers and lauded the gallantry of the members of 46IB. He assured the people of Compostela Valley Province that 10ID troops will continue their peace and development outreach program. "The 10ID shall remain to be a strong military organization and will be relentless in our campaign against the NPAs." MGen. Valencia concluded.

Source: Division Public Affairs Office, 10th Infantry Division, Philippine Army

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