By Rhaydz B. Barcia
LEGAZPI CITY --- Only a few days after three policemen were slain in ambush believed staged by the communist guerrillas, Army 2nd Lieutenant Jason Frederick P. Pasco of the Philippine Army was killed in a clash with armed rebels on Monday, report reaching Camp General Simeon Ola said.
According to the police report, elements of Bravo Company of the Army’s 83 Infantry Battalion under 2Lt Pasco was conducting platoon combat operation in the vicinity of Barangay Mainit, Bato, Camarines Sur when they encountered an undetermined number of New People’s Army rebels.
Exchange of gunfire started at around 5:15 in the afternoon of Monday, Oct. 21, that left Pasco dead and Private First Class Reynaldo Aquino Jr. wounded.
Aquino was immediately brought to Santa Maria Josefa Hospital Foundation in Iriga City for medical treatment.
The communist guerrillas scored anew against the government forces few days after three policemen were killed, also in Camarines Sur.
Six days ago, three policemen providing security to Food and Drug Administration Director General Nela Charade Puno were killed in a broad daylight attack at around 9:10 a.m. along the national highway in Barangay Napolidan, Lupi town in Camarines Sur.
Maria Luisa “Malu” Calubaquib, PNP Bicol regional spokesperson, identified the policemen killed in action as SPO1 Percival S. Rafael, PO3 Carlito S. Navarroza, and PO1 Ralph Jason D. Vida.
The three other policemen wounded in the attack were PO1 Jonathan Perillo, PO1 Ruby Buena, and PO1 Rodolfo Gonzaga.
The fallen and wounded cops escorting Puno from Pili airport in Camarines Sur were heading to Daet, Camarines Norte when the communist guerrillas attacked the policemen in Barangay Napolidan.
Ironically, these tragic incidents happened when the Philippine Army’s 9th Infantry Division regional command in Bicol had reported that the number of communist guerrillas dwindled significantly that thus brought majority of the Bicol’s provinces to be declared as within manageable conflict and almost free from rebels’ presence.
The series of attacks from the communist guerillas came as the nation prepares for the upcoming 2019 mid-term elections and so far the rebels, who are known to be extorting protection money from candidates, especially those campaigning in remote areas, have succeeded in instilling fear and intimidation by inflicting more casualties and fatalities on the government side through armed attacks and lopsided ambushes.