Landmine seized in aftermath of Army-Reds clash

(Photo Courtesy Philippine Army’s 61st Infantry Battalion)

By: Jennifer P. Rendon

The Philippine Army’s 61st Infantry Battalion (61IB) believed it has foiled plans of the New People’s Army (NPA) to conduct alleged atrocities in southern Panay area.

Lieutenant Colonel Joel Benedict Batara, 61st IB commander, claimed that they seized a landmine following an encounter between his troops and suspected NPA rebels in Barangay Igtuble, Tubungan, Iloilo early evening of Nov. 26, 2019.

The troops recovered an anti-personnel landmine, 18 meters electrical wire, and detonator in the encounter site.

“The recovered items are clear indication that they have plans to conduct atrocities in the area, particularly on the first district of Iloilo,” he said.

Months ago, Batara revealed that they already monitored that improvised explosive devices (IEDs) were sneaked into the towns of Tubungan and Leon.

The encounter came after 61st IB troops responded to a report about the presence of armed CPP-NPA terrorists in the area.

When military personnel reached the area, an armed clash with the rebels immediately ensued.

Batara said the 61IB troops encountered around 10 NPA combatants from Sibat 1 platoon of Komiteng Rehiyon-Panay (KR-P)’s Southern Front. A certain Moncino Tacaisan alias Dana led the group.

The firefight lasted for about 10 minutes.

The rebels then withdrew to different directions.

No one was hurt on the government side.

But Batara believed the rebels suffered injuries based on the traces of bloodstains seen on their withdrawal routes.

“Tubungan, specifically Barangay Igtuble, is a strategic place for the CPP-NPA Terrorist to hide because of its mountainous terrain. But we will not allow these terrorists to destroy the breath-taking landscape of Tubungan and its blooming tourism industry,” Batara said.

He believed that the place was used as the rebels’ “harboring area,” that forms part of their perimeter defense against patrolling military forces.

Batara said the rebels had a hard time keeping up with government forces, whom he claimed, just stormed from different directions.

“Keeping IEDs might be their way to combat pursuing forces. But they could also use that for their tactical offensives,” he said.

Meanwhile, Batara vowed to double their efforts in keeping this town free from the menace of insurgency.

“Keeping the town free from insurgents is not only our business. It’s a responsibility of every Tubunganon,” he said.

As such, Batara renewed his call to all residents to continue supporting their soldiers through giving accurate information about the movement, location and activities of the CPP-NPA rebels to prevent them from terrorizing the town and its people.