Rebel killed, high-powered firearms seized in Masbate clashes

A suspected New People’s Army (NPA) rebel was killed while high powered firearms and explosives were seized in separate encounters on Wednesday in Masbate province.

Captain John Paul Belleza, 9th Infantry Division (9ID) spokesperson, on Thursday, said the clashes with the rebels occurred as joint elements of the 2nd Infantry Battalion (2IB) and Philippine National Police pursued fleeing communist terrorists in the towns of Mandaon and Baleno.

The pursuit operations followed the murder of a barangay councilor and a watchman in Barangay Cabas-an in Aroroy on Tuesday. The two victims were abducted on the same day along with two other village officials who managed to escape.

“During the said armed skirmishes, no one was harmed in the government side but one Communist Terrorist Group (CTG) member who is yet to be identified was killed,” Belleza said in an interview.

He added that the operating troops recovered two M16 rifles, anti-personnel mines, medical paraphernalia, terroristic propaganda materials, and personal belongings from the encounter sites.

Lt. Col. Siegfried Felipe Awichen, commander of the 2nd Infantry Battalion, thanked the local residents for helping the troops locate the enemies by sending reports about the CTG’s presence in their area.

Enraged about the latest incident, residents in Masbate are eager to help the government in arresting the perpetrators and hold them accountable for their gruesome crime.

In a statement, Maj. Gen. Henry Robinson Jr., commander of Joint Task Force (JTF) Bicolandia, said he is confident that with the effective interoperability of the Army, police, and other law enforcement agencies, coupled with the public’s eagerness to help the pursuing troops in the area, other CNTs responsible for the said terroristic attack will be put behind bars if not killed in armed encounters if they will not surrender peacefully.

“We will sustain this momentum of defeating the communist insurgency here in Bicol. Let us not allow the CTG to continue murdering innocent and defenseless people. We will press on and push this five-decade armed struggle into its total extinction,” Robinson said.

He also said spreading violence in communities is the terrorists’ way of threatening the people and regaining their lost mass bases, but there is no way they can escape from the expiration of their lost cause.

“To all the people who are still supporting and condoning the evil deeds of these murderers and terrorists, you are only contributing to their terrorism. Tolerating their wickedness will give them the guts to murder more innocent civilians, carry out unlawful activities and disrupt our region’s security and stability,” Robinson said.

Source: Philippines News agency

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