Philippine Army ambushed in Abra, 3 killed and 3 wounded

41st IB ambushed in Abra, 3 killed, another 3 wounded

Spokesperson, Agustin Begnalen Command
NPA – Abra

An initial field report confirmed that a vehicle of the 41st Infantry Battalion, Philippine Army, was ambushed by New People's Army guerillas of the Agustin Begnalen Command at 5:30 am on 30  October 2010, at Barangay Bonglo-Lengas, Baay-Licuan, Abra. Three soldiers were killed and about three more were wounded. Two M16 rifles, an M60 machinegun, other logistics and documents were carted away by the NPA guerillas, who swiftly retreated after the firefight.

The ambush site is situated along the Abra-Kalinga Road, just a few minutes away from the 503rd Brigade HQ at Barbarit, and the Bacooc Patrol Base in Lagangilang, and from Bituen Patrol Base and the Advanced Command Post (ACP) of the 41st IB in Bakiro, Baay-Licuan.

The 41st IB was punished anew by the ABC-NPA for a series of human rights violations, as they intensified their counter-insurgency operations in line with Oblan Bantay Laya 2 (national security program) and its current extension program under the Noynoy Aquino Regime.

With their intensification of Internal Security Operations since 2008, the 41st IB have been conducting Special Operations Team campaigns in the towns of Lacub, Malibcong, Baay-Licuan, and Sallapadan; it is also involved in joint operations with the 50th Infantry Battalion in Boliney and Tubo.

Indigenous Tinggian communities have been terrorized with indiscriminate bombings, machinegun strafing, illegal arrests and detentions, tortures, and murders. Day Care centers, barangay halls, and homes were used as barracks by 41st IB soldiers conducting SOT operations. Witchhunting were common, mobility and travel were restricted, and agricultural production and small scale mining were hampered. Womanizing, drunkeness, brawls, and other forms of decadence and public disturbance abound where soldiers from the 41st IB operated.

The 41st IB was likewise punished for serving as security escorts and propagandists of large-scale mining companies.

After then Department of National Defense Sec. Gilbert Teodoro announced in 2008 that Abra will be prioritized in counter-insurgency operations because of mining interests in the province, the 41st IB immediately deployed its forces where mining permits have been granted or where mining applications abound.

A minimum of 36 mining permit applications in Abra have been filed with the Mines and Geosciences Bureau – Department of Environment and Natural Resources, and companies such as Rio Dorado, AMIC (Abra Mining Industrial Company), Olympus-Pacific, Magdaleno/Miguel M. Pena, Sulfotara, CEXI (Cordillera Exploration Company, Inc.), and others have been issued permits. Most of these applications and permits cover the municipalities of Tineg, Lacub, Baay-Licuan, Malibcong, Sallapadan, Daguioman, Bucloc, Bucay, Boliney, and Tubo. It is no coincidence that the 41st IB troops have been deployed in these areas.

The latest tactical offensive launched by the NPA-Abra indicates the heightened fighting will and capability of the people's army and is a manifestation of the resolve of the revolutionary movement to fight along with the people of Abra against plunderers, landgrabbers of ancestral and agricultural land, human rights violators, and large-scale destroyers of the environment.

After all, the ambush near the 503rd Brigade HQ, the ACP of the 41st IB, and 2 Patrol Bases, would not have succeeded if the people are not supportive of the NPA. As history have shown, the people of Abra will unite, in the tradition of the anti-CRC (Cellophil Resources Company) struggle, against common enemies. And the true people's army, the NPA, will be one with them in this historic fight!