Troops recover marijuana, firearms at encounter site

State forces recovered firearms and marijuana following an encounter with the New People’s Army recently at Sitio Langka, Barangay Danao, Leon, Iloilo.

1Lt Gil Gamay, civil military operations officer of 61st Infantry Battalion, said the soldiers clashed with around 30 rebels after they responded to the reports of the residents about the presence of armed members of the NPA in the area, with identified group leader Melgar “Mar” Besmanos of Sibat Platoon, Southern Front Komiteng Rehiyon-Panay.

No casualty was reported on the government side during the 30-minute firefight.

Recovered from the enemy’s location were a homemade M79 with 12 rounds of 40mm ammunition, a hand grenade, an anti-personnel landmine with 50 meters detonating cord, 62 rounds of 7.62mm ammunition, 15 backpacks, two cellular phones, a pocket Wi-F, a laptop, seven flash drives; a handheld radio; a gas stove, a cooking utensil, and a pack of marijuana.

Lieutenant Colonel Joel Benedict Batara, commanding officer of the 61IB, said, “May the NPA fighters realize quickly that the battle they are fighting is neither for a principle nor will uplift their lives. The CPP-NPA is a terrorist group as magnified by the recovery of packs of illegal drug marijuana in their belongings. Such possession can never justify their propaganda of fighting for the people. It can be easily assumed that they allow the destruction of their own men much more on the destruction of this country and the Filipino people.”*