4 NPA rebels killed in Masbate clash

By Connie Calipay and Mar Serrano


Four New People’s Army (NPA) rebels were killed in an armed encounter with government troops in the boundaries of the towns of Esperanza and Placer in Masbate province on Dec. 17.


Major John Paul Belleza, 9th Infantry Division spokesperson, said that concerned citizens reported the presence of NPA guerillas in their area prompting soldiers of 2nd Infantry Battalion (2IB) under the 903rd Infantry Brigade and supported by Philippine National Police (PNP) to conduct security operation.


The government troops encountered some 20 NPA members at the boundary of Barangay Baras, Esperanza, and Barangay Manlut-od, Placer.


"The intense firefight between the two forces lasted for an hour resulting in the killing of the still-unidentified NPA members and capture of one R4 rifle, two M16 rifles, two M653 rifles, one Garand rifle, two rifle grenades, one hand grenade, anti-personnel mines, and terroristic propaganda materials," Belleza said.


He added that no one was hurt from the government side.


Lt. Col. Siegfried Felipe Awichen, commander of the 2nd Infantry Battalion, lambasted the rebels for their attempt to terrorize the Masbateños at the height of Typhon Odette.


"In times when we should be lending our hands to the populace in the geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas (GIDAs), the rebels continue to plunder the countryside further adding to the woes of our impoverished fellow Filipinos," Awichen said.


Col. Aldwine Almase, commander of 903rd Infantry Brigade, thanked the residents for their prompt report which prevented the terrorist group from committing atrocities.


"Our troops will continue searching for other NPA members who are now on the run to stop them from hurling any terroristic attack against the innocent civilians and their communities," Almase said.


Meanwhile Brig. Gen. Jonnel Estomo, PRO5 regional director, directed his troops to scour downtown areas in Masbate for the rebels who will try to find shelter after the encounter.


Brig. Gen. Adonis Bajao, acting division commander, assured the Bicolanos of the Army's stringent security measures being laid out in the entire region while also on alert for the preemptive efforts due to the typhoon.


Before this, in the area of 902nd Infantry Brigade, a series of successful operations were conducted by the 9th Infantry Battalion from Dec. 10-12 in Ragay, Camarines Sur, which resulted in the killing of one rebel and capture of two M16 rifles, bandolier, three Molotov bombs, four detonators, two cellphones, three jungle packs, terroristic propaganda materials, and personal belongings.