Army troopers, NPA rebels clash anew in Laak village

Government troopers belonging to 60th Infantry Battalion encountered at least 40 New People’s Army rebels at around 4:15 a.m. on Wednesday, May 17 in Barangay Malinao, Laak town in Compostela Valley.

In a press statement on Thursday, 1LT Irene F. Rivera, acting civil military operations officer of 60th IB said their troopers were on security patrol when they encountered the NPA rebels belonging to Guerrilla Front 34 of the Southern Mindanao Regional Committee under the command of a certain Iros/Mitsel.

“The Platoon Howitzer, Charlie Battery, 2nd Field Artillery Battery (2FAB) provided indirect fire support to the engaged troopers. No soldier was hurt during the encounter,” Rivera said.

She added that based on visual evidence, several numbers of NPA rebels were wounded during the clash and were carried away by their fleeing comrades.

Checkpoints were also established by authorities in various access points in Laak to deter enemy evasion, Rivera stressed.

She also reported that the local government unit of Laak, through Mayor Antonio Libuangan already activated the Incident Command Post under the Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office.

With the activation of ICP, all municipal assets in Laak were already in place to respond for any eventuality, Rivera said.

“Different departments of the municipal government, concerned line agencies, including the civil-military operations unit of 60th IB were already alerted and ready to deliver immediate assistance to the families affected by hostilities,” she added.

In the same press statement, 60th IB commander Lt. Col. Emmanuel A. Canilla ensured the people of Laak that the government troopers will strictly follow standard operating procedures, act only on legal orders, and put primacy on respecting human rights especially of unarmed civilians and even of captured and surrendering enemies.

Pursuit and clearing operations are still on-going in the area, he added.

“We will also act on the report by civilians that the NPAs were conducting extortion activities and threatening the residents of Barangay Malinao,” Canilla said.