NSA Carlos commends Army for crushing Reds in Iloilo
National Security Adviser Clarita R. Carlos commended the Philippine Army over its triumph in a bloody clash against communist rebels in Igbaras, Iloilo on Saturday afternoon, Nov. 26. The 61st Infantry "Hunter" Battalion of the Philippine Army's 3rd Infantry Division neutralized a member of the New People’s Army (NPA) and seized three high-powered firearms during their encounter at Sitio Gibasya in Barangay Tigbanaba. No casualty was reported among state forces. "Napakalaki ng pasasalamat ko sa mga sundalo ng 61st Infantry Battalion para sa tagumpay na ito (I am grateful to the 61st Infantry Battalion for this success). This is a significant milestone in our mission of eliminating the communist influence in Visayas," said Carlos, who is also vice chairperson of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-Elcac).
Despite the success of the government operation, 3rd Infantry Division Commander Major General Benedict M. Arevalo conveyed his sadness for the death of the NPA member. “As much as possible, we want to make them realize that joining armed struggle is not the answer to attaining societal change, and we don’t want another victim and lives to be wasted. We are so much concerned for their families suffering their loss,” Arevalo said. Carlos, meanwhile, vowed that government forces would continue to boost their efforts to eradicate the decades-long communist insurgency in the country. “Pero sa kabila ng paghina ng kanilang pwersa, hindi pa rin magpapabaya ang ating kasundaluhan sa pagprotekta sa bawat mamamayang Pilipino (Even if their forces weaken, our soldiers will continue to protect the Filipino people)," she said. Carlos also renewed her call to the remaining NPA members to surrender and return to the fold of the law. In line with the directive of President Ferdinand R. Marcos, the NTF-Elcac intensifies the delivery of its priority programs to encourage remaining members of the rebel armed groups to avail the local integration program of the government.