A soldier was killed and two others were wounded when Red fighters of the New People’s Army (NPA)-Front 72 in Mindanao ambushed a column under the 57th IB Alpha Coy conducting patrols in the mountainous areas of Barangay Cabilao, Makilala, North Cotabato on January 22. The slain casualty was identified as Pfc. Rodolfo Limlaud and the wounded were their commanding officer Lt. Dennis Matumbale and Cpl. Batotin Ebat.
The soldiers withdrew from the scene of the ambush and forced residents to collect their casualties who were left behind. In retaliation, the 57th IB later indiscriminately bombarded the mountains and the civilian communities with artillery fire, using 105 howitzers and 60 mm mortars.
The day after, two NPA units harassed two separate Philippine Army columns that were sent as reinforcements. The first harassment operation took place at 8 a.m. and the second at 1 p.m., causing an undetermined number of casualties, according to initial reports. There were no casualties on the NPA side in these three firefights.
The latest military operation by the 57th IB is a continuation of sustained combat operations against Front 72. One of the objectives is to pave the way for the further expansion in Makilala of banana plantations under the Dolefil-Stanfilco multinational company.