Military and police troops yesterday clashed with communist New People’s Army (NPA) rebels in Masbate, resulting in one policeman wounded.
Maj. Angelo Guzman, public information officer of the Southern Luzon Command (Solcom), said that joint military and police elements encountered undetermined number of NPA rebels while on combat patrol in Burias Island, Claveria town.
The troops, led by Senior Insp. Bon Billy David Timuat, were patrolling along the boundary of Barangay Poblacion District 1 and Barangay Canomay at around 6:30 a.m. when they clashed with the NPAs.
The firefight lasted for about 10 minutes, resulting in one policeman wounded, identified as PO3 Johnson Ozaeta, of the police’s 5th Regional Public Safety Battalion. He is now at the Aquinas University Hospital in Legazpi City for treatment.
There was no reported casualty on the communist side.
Col. Cesar Idio, commander of the Army’s 903rd Brigade, directed the engaged troops to conduct pursuit operation to possible enemy route of withdrawal.
Idio, at the same time, vowed relentless operation against the communist in Sorsogon and Masbate areas.
“The 903rd Brigade will continue its aggressive conduct of focused military operations and intensify our joint operations with the local PNP and stakeholder engagement to facilitate the clearing of Sorsogon and Masbate to ensure that the AOR will be transformed into manageable conflict areas,” Idio said.
He added that Solcom commander Maj. Gen. Ricardo Visaya also wants intensified campaign for a more developed Southern Tagalog Region.