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PH Army captures high-powered firearm in new clash

Siayan, Zamboanga del Norte — The Philippine Army's 53rd Infantry Battalion captured a high-powered firearm in a new clash with the Communist - NPA terrorists (CNT) on Monday, July 20, 2020.

The 10-minute firefight transpired at the boundary of Sitio Tumanong, Brgy. Macasing and Sitio Sinatalan, Brgy Pange, Siayan, Zamboanga del Norte.

Based on initial report, there were no casualties incurred on the government side and resulted to the capture of one M16 rifle, various magazines and ammunitions, medical supplies and paraphernalia, and terrorist propaganda materials.

In a statement, 53IB Commanding Officer, Lt. Col. Jo-ar Herrera said the Army will exert all efforts until peace is achieved in the Municipality of Siayan.

"We will not stop in doing two things: first, in pursuing the enemy who disrupt peace in Siayan and second, giving chance and opportunity to the NPAs to return to the folds of the law," Lt. Col. Herrera said.

Meanwhile, 102nd Infantry Brigade Commander Col. Leonel Nicolas, who has operational jurisdiction of Zamboanga del Norte, said that the Brigade will continue to deploy its troops to bring peace in the communities.

"The brigade will continuously pressure the CNTs operating in the region to enduce them to lay down their arms and eventually promote peace and development," Col. Nicolas said.

The Mayor and Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conclict (MTF-ELCAC) chairman of Siayan, Hon. Josecor Gepolongca,

commended the troops for their gallantry.

"This is a fruitful result of our activities in relation to ELCAC, continuously encouraging our constituents to cooperate with the Government. Vividly, the full trust of our people is now on our side", said Mayor Gepolongca.

1st Infantry Division Commander Maj. Gen. Gene Ponio in his statement said "that it is not yet too late for the NPA terrorists still in the hinterlands to surrender".

"The programs and initiatives of the Government, including the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP), are just waiting for you. It is not yet too late to start a new life in peace and violence-free," Maj. Gen. Ponio said.

On Sunday evening, July 19, a Communist-NPA terrorist turned himself over to the troops, saying he can't stand being in the armed group anymore.

Troops are still in hot pursuit of the communist terrorists as of this posting. (PR)

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