Photo obtained by Kawal Pinoy from Internet Sources
SORSOGON CITY- Two senior leaders of the NPA bandit group were collared after an encounter with Army soldiers in Batang Ilan Complex, Magallanes town of, Sorsogon at around 6:15am today.
Col Joselito Kakilala, the Commander of the Army's 903rd Brigade, said that he sent soldiers to check the presence of armed bandits who were collecting money from the local residents.
" Our soldiers stormed the place upon receiving a tip-off from a concerned resident in the area. The bandits fired their weapons upon seeing the approaching soldiers, triggering a brief firefight," he said.
"Two of the bandits raised their arms to surrender upon seeing that their comrades fled to save their own lives. They were identified by the villagers as Elias Pura a.k.a. Soling, and a certain 'Ino'.
The soldiers confiscated a Cal 5.56mm M653 rifle, a Cal 45 pistol, and improvised bombs from the arrested extortionists.
In a separate encounter with bandits in Balud, Masbate at about the same time, the troops of the 9th Infantry Battalion seized two M16 rifles and an M1 Carbine Rifle.
The soldiers were conducting security patrol in the village of Jangan when they met at least 15 heavily armed bandits along their path, triggering a heavy exchange of fires.
The bandits fled after sustaining casualties but failed to carry the rifles owned by their wounded comrades. Among those confiscated from the bandits are two M16 rifles and an M1 Carbine rifle.
The people in the Bicol Region are fed up by the excessive collection of extortion money from the NPA bandit group.
Kakilala said that more and more civilians are sending text messages about the presence of armed extortionists in their respective communities.
"I am quite thankful to the civilians who have supported our drive against armed banditry in the region. The number of armed extortionists have significantly dwindled due to the deaths of their armed cadres in the series of firefights with government forces," he said, adding that "Peace and development interventions would be continuously pursued by the military in collaboration with its partner organizations and agencies".