By Luis Eli San Jose
Pili, Camarines Sur --- Four members of the outlawed New People’s Army were killed in separate clashes that took place in the province early this week.
The first incident occurred on Monday (April 9) morning in Barangay Gubat, Lagonoy, Camarines Sur that resulted in the death of one NPA armed combatant and the recovery of an M14 rifle, ammunition, and personal belongings.
A day after, another firefight ensued between the government troops and members of the NPA terrorist group in Barangay Payak, Bato, Camarines Sur.
Sources from the Army’s 9th Infantry Division here said that the encounter was expected as their forces intensified patrol and security operations following reports from local residents that the rebels have been pursuing their extortion activities in the remote barangays.
The second bloody incident left three rebels dead and 5 more captured, two of them injured, following a fierce exchange of gunfire with the government troopers. Three M16 from the rebels were also seized by the Army troopers who outmaneuvered their enemies.
The bodies of the casualties and those captured at the site of the encounter were turned over to the authorities for proper disposition. The injured were given medical attention.
No casualty was reported on the government side even as an additional Army force was deployed to go after the retreating terrorists.
Maj. General Jesus A Manangquil Jr. lauded the local residents for tipping them off with information that served as key to the successful military operation.
He stressed his men will not loosen its security stance despite news of pending resumption of peace talks so that the communists will not have the chance to launch attacks against their vulnerable victims.
The commanding general, while expressing sympathy to families of those killed in the encounter, called upon the remaining NPA rebels to lay down their arms and go back to the mainstream of society so that peace and progress will reign in the country.
He urged them to avail instead of the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) being offered by our government so that they can join in developmental initiatives and put them back in peaceful co-existence with their fellow Filipinos.