FOUR top-ranking leaders of the New People’s Army (NPA) were killed in a clash with government troops in the province of Bukidnon, a top military official announced Thursday, April 7, 2022.

Lieutenant General Greg Almerol, Eastern Mindanao Command (Eastmincom) chief, said the clash that happened Wednesday, April 6, at Kilometer 24 in Tikalaan village, Talakag, Bukidnon was “a major strike against terrorist remnants.”

Almerol identified the slain NPA top-ranking leaders as Carlisio Sumalinog, Jovilito Pontillas, Gary Juliana and Jelly Sugnot.

Almerol said the encounter transpired following an information from concerned citizens on the presence of some 30 unidentified armed individuals consolidating at Kilometer 24 in Tikalaan village, Talakag town.

“Our troops who are conducting focused military operations, combined with intel units and Regional Mobile Force Battalion (RMFB) of Philippine National Police, immediately responded to the information to secure the area, resulting in almost two hours of firefight that led to the death of the four CTG (communist terrorist group) leaders," Almerol said.

The troops also seized 16 high-powered firearms and other war materiel at the encounter site composed of seven M16 Rifles, an M203 Grenade Launcher, two R4 Carbines, an M653 Rifle, three Garand Rifles, an AK47 Rifle, M14 Rifle, assorted magazines, ammunition, medicines, bandoliers, backpacks, NPA flags, and other items.

Almerol assessed that the death of the four high-ranking NPA leaders will cause a major blow to the current status of the CTG, for which he said "might further dwindle their forces."

"This will put more pressure on the remaining forces of CTG to yield as they are currently headless. They cannot survive our series of focused military operations without someone to lead them," Almerol pointed out.

He lauded the government's security forces for their swift response that foiled the NPA's possible atrocities.

Meanwhile, he said that the clash is a result of the Eastmincom's intensified focused military operations to finish the insurgency before President Rodrigo Duterte steps down in June.

He also reiterated his call to remnants of NPA in Eastern Mindanao to yield and lay down their firearms. (SunStar Zamboanga)

Source: SunStar (