MATI, Davao Oriental (PNA)–The clash between government troops and the New People’s Army (NPA) on Sunday morning da-maged parts of Aliwagwag Eco Park, a premier tourist destination in Cateel, Da-vao Oriental, police said.
Sr. Inspector Butch Kevin Rapiz, Cateel muni-cipal police chief, said the base camp of the 67th Infantry Battalion (IB) at the park was partially burned while the zip line waiting shed near the patrol base was totally da-maged.
Rapiz said local police reinforced the soldiers after barangay officials sought their assistance regarding the ongoing firefight in the area. A soldier was injured in the firefight.
Aliwagwag Falls has been frequented by local and foreign tourists espe-cially during summer, the peak of visitor arrivals in the province. It has become a popular tourist destination because of its 130 casca-ding waterfalls ranging from six to 110 feet high.
Major General Rafael Valencia, commander of 10th Infantry Division, criticized the communist guerrillas for attacking a prime tourism destination.
“The attack is a wan-ton disregard of the people’s safety and source of liveli-hood,” he said in a state-ment.
About 40 fully armed rebels harassed the 67th IB assigned to secure Aliwag-wag Falls on Sunday in Cateel town.
Valencia commended the 67th IB troopers for standing their ground, despite being outnumbered, and repulsing the NPA rebels.
Residents in the area also reported to the military they saw the fleeing NPA rebels carrying at least two dead comrades and one severely wounded.
Government troops recovered from the en-counter site one M14 rifle.