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PIA Press Release

CAFGU drives out NPAs from village

TABUK CITY, Kalinga (20 October) -- A composite team of Civilian Armed Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU) and civilian volunteers led by military personnel successfully drove out alleged members of the New Peoples Army (NPA) who were about to enter a Kalinga village in an early morning encounter at Sitio Cacasyan, Barangay Buaya, Balbalan last week

Led by Lt. Alexander Magas of the 21st Infantry Battalion and joined by a squad of CAFGU-CAA and some volunteers, the group jumped off from the Lapoc detachment to act on persistent sighting and extortion activities of suspected communist terrorists in the area, a military report said.

According to Lt. Colonel Francis Lardizabal, 21st IB Commanding Officer, while the troops were approaching sitio Cacasyan, they encountered more or less 10 fully armed members of the NPA believed to be under Antonio Cagwayan alias Ka Senyas of the Lejo Cawilan Command of the Kalinga Front Committee.

He said the firefight lasted for almost 15 minutes resulting to the recovery of 1 M16 with serial number 167329 and 1 short magazine of same caliber with 5 remaining rounds. "There is no reported casualty on the government side while 2 are believed wounded on the enemy side as evidence of blood stains along en route of withdrawal towards the south direction," he said.

The day before the encounter, reports reaching the 21st IB command post based at Bantay, Tabuk City informed that civilians saw a group of fully armed NPAs moving near the village, Lardizabal said.

Taking pro-active measures, a team was to conduct clearing operations before the next day break. The report said a squad was composed of nine CAA while two brave civilians from the village volunteered to serve as guides for the troops.

Meanwhile, Col. Roberto Morales, Commanding Officer of the 501st Infantry Brigade commended the active auxiliary force and civilian volunteers for the vital role they played in driving out the NPAs from the village.

"Your vigilance and courage in information gathering is of great help to the military and the government," Morales told CAA members and civilians who were involved in the operation.

Applying the hard power of the military against "enemies of the state" on the one hand, Morales said they were ordered by President Arroyo to immediately draw up a list of priority areas for local peace initiatives to ensure funding and implementation with the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP).

The presidential directive was issued to the OPAPP and the commanding general of the AFP-National Development Service Command (AFP-NDSC) and the list of priority areas should be submitted to Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita for proper action.

The Executive Secretary shall then disseminate the list to agency heads for priority funding and implementation, based on the OPAPP-AFP schedule for peace initiatives, and subject to regular updating based on conditions and requirements on the ground. (PIA-Kalinga) [top]

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