By ALAN JUANITO
Spokesperson, Julito Tiro Command
NPA North Central Mindanao Regional Operations Command
A week before the scheduled end of the Suspension of Military Operations (SOMO) of the Armed Forces of the Philippines this 15 January 2014, the New People’s Army under the Western Agusan Norte-Agusan Sur Sub-Regional Command launched two offensive actions against operating troops of the 26th Infantry Battalion in San Luis, Agusan del Sur on 8 and 9 January. Six were killed and 12 were wounded among the reactionary soldiers in the two incidents while the NPA suffered no casualties.
Despite the AFP’s SOMO, military operations continue relentlessly in San Luis, Agusan del Sur; San Fernando and Impasug-on in Bukidnon; and Gingoog, Claveria and Binuangan in Misamis Oriental.
In San Luis, particularly, where the open celebration for the 45th anniversary of the Communist Party of the Philippines last 26 December was held, where thousands of masses, allies and media people took part of the celebration, the 26th Infantry Battalion immediately put up a checkpoint near their Battalion Headquarters in Talacogon. For more than two weeks now, the checkpoint has been a nuisance to local citizens in preparations for the New Year festivities, as well as to their freedom of movement.
Maj. Canacero of the 26th Infantry Battalion lies when he tells the public that their troops were merely assisting the Philippine National Police in serving out a warrant of arrest to a certain criminal suspect in Kipuyag, Barangay (village) San Pedro, San Luis. In reality, their combat operations in the barrios (villages) of San Luis started on 2 January 2014, 11:00 PM. A hundred and ten troops were mobilized simultaneously for the operation, wherein a column of 68 troops entered Barangay San Pedro. Another column of 42 entered Km. 21, Barangay Don Alejandro, San Luis. For about a week, they have scoured forested and interior vicinity hunting the NPA down.
And their search turned out to be for nothing. The subjects of their pursuit swiftly pursued them on their way back to base. On 8 January, around 11:35 AM, an NPA team harassed a column of the 26th Infantry Battalion climbing a steep bank in Mahaba River, going towards Km. 27, Side 2, Barangay Mahayahay, San Luis. Five were wounded among the fascist troops, including their guide, Biane, a (paramilitary) CAFGU member infamous for his extortion activities on small-scale loggers in San Luis.
On 9 January, around 2:00 AM, in Km. 5, Barangay Balit, San Luis, six were killed and seven were wounded among another column of 26th Infantry Battalion troops when an NPA team harassed their 6×6 truck while on their way to Battalion Headquarters in Talacogon. The enemy platoon vehicle was negotiating a rough road when Red fighters fired at the rear side of the vehicle.
At the onset of year 2014, the initial offensive actions of the NPA show that all units in North Central Mindanao Region are prepared to face the relentless assault of the reactionary AFP and all counterrevolutionary forces.