NAGA CITY – Two suspected high-ranking leaders of New People’s Army (NPA) in Bicol, known only by their code names or aliases, were killed in an on-going encounter with government soldiers early morning Tuesday, Army said.
The suspected rebels were found dead after engaging in firefight with combined elements from the Army and Sorsogon police at around 5:25 a.m. Tuesday in Barangay Bolacawe, Matnog town, Sorsogon, Captain Mardjorie Panesa, Public Information Officer of Philippine Army’s 9th Infantry Division (9ID), said.
Another supposed rebel, 19-year-old Peter Chija of Gate, Bulan, Sorsogon, was critically wounded in the same encounter, First Lieutenant Bethany Cadungan, spokesperson of 903rd Infantry Brigade (903rd IB), 9ID.
Panesa said that the slain rebels were identified as “Ka Abel”, Commanding Officer of Sorsogon NPA Probinsyal Yunit Group, and “Ka Win”, Commanding Officer of NPA’s Sentro Gravidad also in Sorsogon.
She said that the rebels were part of more or less 15 members of NPA who were encountered by the government forces after they responded to reports from residents regarding presence of armed men in the area planning to ambush a government relief convoy carrying relief goods intended for the victims of typhoon “Yolanda” in Samar and Leyte. The relief goods were combined donations from various local government units and non-government organizations in Bicol which the Army and police are helping transport.
The rebels were believed to be members of NPA’s Larangan 2, Komiteng Probinsyal (Komprob) Sorsogon under Jesus Guelas a.k.a. Gapa/Insoy, she added.
Panesa added that the soldiers found the rebels hiding out in the house of a resident identified only with his alias “Ampatuan”.
The slain rebels were found lying on the ground in a wooded area of the barangay.
Cadungan said in her statement that the government forces who figured into the incident were from 903rd IB, 31st Infantry Battalion (31IB), 96th Military Intelligence Company (96MICO), Alpha Company of 22nd Infantry Battalion and Matnog, Sorsogon Philippine National Police (PNP) Unit led by 1Lt Rory Esico and 2Lt Linley Marl Dajao.
Also recovered from the clash site were three M16s, one M14, one M653 rifle, a caliber .45 pistol and several improvised explosive devices (IEDs) which Army believed the NPA were intending to use in the ambush, Cadungan added.
Panesa said that reinforcements from 903rd IB under Colonel Joselito Kakilala were immediately deployed to aid troops there.
The bodies of the slain rebels are still in the clash site as firefight is still ongoing while wounded Chija was given medical attention in the nearest hospital in Matnog.