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NPA rebel slain, weapons seized in clash

By Connie Calipay

A New People’s Army (NPA) rebel was killed while high-powered guns and an anti-personnel mine were seized after a three-hour gun battle between the rebels and government forces in Barangay Sta. Lourdes, Barcelona town in Sorsogon province on Jan. 21.

Joint elements of the 31st Infantry Battalion (31IB), 903rd Infantry Brigade, intelligence units of the Army and Police Regional Office 5, and the Sorsogon provincial police were conducting security operations after some residents informed authorities about the presence of NPA members in the area when the encounter took place, Maj. John Paul Belleza, 9th Infantry Division (9ID) spokesperson, said.

“After the fierce gunfight that took almost three hours, an NPA member, whose identity is still unknown, was killed while four high-powered firearms were seized from the encounter site,” Belleza said.

Lt. Col. Marlon Mojica, commander of 31IB, directed the troops to continue scouring the area and the nearby barangays to hunt down the fleeing rebels who might take shelter among the residents.

Brig. Gen. Aldwine Almase, commander of the 903rd Brigade, said the successful operation thwarted the communists’ attempt to conduct extortion activities and intimidations against the Sorsoganons.

PRO-5 chief, Brig. Gen. Jonnel Estomo, vowed to continue their intensified efforts to protect the public and their communities.

Though we are busy in making security plans for the upcoming May polls, we will not put our guards down against this terrorist group and whoever plans to sow violence in Bicol, Estomo said.

Maj. Gen. Alex DC Luna, commander of Joint Task Force (JTF) Bicolandia, on the other hand, lauded the effective interoperability of the Army and the PNP that has been instrumental in the government’s series of successes for the past years.

“Our campaigns have reached new heights because when the JTF Bicolandia, the PNP, and the Bicolanos combine, we become a formidable force. Life is short. Do not waste it in a useless cause,” Luna said.

Meanwhile, a total of 21 New People’s Army (NPA) rebels voluntarily surrendered recently to the Philippine Army’s 49th Infantry Battalion (49IB) and 902nd Infantry Brigade in Barangay Tas-tas, Ligao City, Albay.

The former rebels comprised of 10 regular NPA members, six Sangay ng Partido sa Lokalidad (SPL), and five Militia ng Bayan (MB) members.

They also surrendered one M16 rifle, one shotgun, two calibers .45, one caliber .38 revolver, two rifle grenades, assorted ammunition, and one anti-personnel mine with 20-meter wire.

WEAPONS The firearms and anti-personnel mine recovered after a clash between the New People’s Army and government troops in Barangay Sta. Lourdes, Barcelona, Sorsogon on Jan.21. (Photo courtesy of 9ID, PA)


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