CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MIKE BAÑOS / Oct 26) Troopers of the Philippine Army's 4th Infantry "Diamond" Division's 23rd Infantry Battalion under Lt. Col. Rolando Manalo engaged an estimated twenty (20) armed communist guerrillas believed led by Ricardo Manili alias Joker of the Front Committee 4A of the North Eastern Mindanao Regional Committee (NEMRC), CPP/NPA/NDF in a 15-minute firefight in the vicinity Sitio Mankilana, Bgy Lawan-lawan, Las Nieves, Agusan del Norte last October 20, 2006.
Troopers from the same unit led by 1st Lieutenant Wilfredo Dalisay later recovered two (2) M-16 Armalite rifles, a fragmentation grenade, one bandolier with magazines, ammunition and a jungle pack of subversive documents from the area.
4th ID Public Affairs Chief Maj. Samuel Sagun said the troopers were personally commended by Army Chief Lt. Gen. Romeo P. Tolentino whose wired citation read: "It is my pride in commending 4ID particularly 23IB for the successful encounter against twenty (20) fully armed communist terrorists. Indeed, such accomplishment clearly demonstrates a high level of training and dedication to duty. Congratulations for a job well done and carry on the good work".
In another operation, Diamond Division Chief Brig. Gen. Jose Barbieto reported that soldiers in Agusan del Sur seized several Armalite rifles and live ammunition and other war materials from a house in Sibagat.
In a report filed with Barbieto, Brig. Gen. Ricardo A. David Jr., commander of the 402nd Infantry (Stingers) Brigade, reported that the 23rd Cadre of the Citizens Armed Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU) Battalion under Lt. Col. Rolando Manalo raided a house of the rebels in Sibagat and seized several war materials, including Armalite. David said that their offensive attacks on lairs of communist insurgents would continue until the NPA units in the area were neutralized.
Improved intelligence gathering and processing by the 4th ID also led to the capture of two (2) NPA camps Tuesday in San Fernando and the sub-command center of Front Committee 6 of the North Central Mindanao Regional Committee (NCMRC) Wednesday by the 26th Infantry Battalion in Quezon, Bukidnon.
Battalion commander Lt. Col. Benjamin Madrigal said this was one of the major NPA camps in Southern Bukidnon. He said his men also killed three (3) rebels and seized automatic rifles, ammunition, medical supplies, food and "high-value" subversive documents. The same unit launched a major assault against communist rebels in Migbantay, Quezon last Friday.
Barbieto said organic units of the 4th ID's 403rd Infantry Brigade are still conducting hot pursuit operations against fleeing communist rebels in the area. (with a report from Ben Balce)