NSFA, Panacan, and Davao City – Leoncio Pitao alias Parago, commander of the NPA’s Pulang Bagani Command (PBC 1) SMRC and one unidentified female rebel were killed in an encounter at Purok 9, Brgy Pañalum, Paquibato District, Davao City around 2:30 this afternoon.
Combined elements of 10ID’s Task Force Minion formed several months ago to capture one of the country’s most notorious NPA leader caught up with Parago’s group triggering a twenty-minute firefight. Recovered from the encounter site were two (2) M16 Rifles, three (3) backpacks and several rounds of Rifle grenades. The still unidentified slain female rebel is believed to be Parago’s medical aide.
Leoncio Pitao has several standing warrant of arrests for various crimes ranging from murder, multiple frustrated murder and robbery. He gained notoriety as an NPA Leader in Southern Mindanao since late 80’s
These development came barely two weeks after Pitao’s group encountered government troops in the house of Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas – Southern Mindanao Region (KMP-SMR) Secretary General Aida Seisa at Purok 7, Barangay Paradise Embac, Paquibato District, this City where three (3) of his security elements were killed. Militant groups have since claimed that what transpired was a massacre. Two more NPA Rebels were also killed in a pursuit operation on June 17 in Purok Mangga in the same village.
“After these two encounters with PBC 1, information from local villagers started pouring in which allowed us to track down their movement and activities particularly that of Parago” says Major General Eduardo M Año , Commander of 10th Infantry Agila Division who personally oversees Task Force Minion. “Apparently, the people have been fed up with the group’s banditry and terrorism,” General Año added.
With Parago’s death, NPA Bandits operating in Southern Mindanao is expected to further plunge in a serious leadership crisis following the neutralization of other top NPA leaders early this year.
General Año lauded the combined troops of 1003rd Brigade, 69th Infantry Battalion, 10th Military Intelligence Battalion and Intelligence Service Armed Forces of the Philippines (ISAFP) for successfully neutralizing one of the country’s most notorious NPA leaders. He further thanked the local community whose information they provided led to the neutralization of Parago.
“Leoncio Pitao alias Parago may have eluded arrest several times but eventually the long arms of the law caught up with him. We hope that with his death, the communities especially in Paquibato District which he has terrorized for a very long time will now experience true and lasting peace.” General Año concluded.Press Release by the 10ID, PA