Tag Archive: counter-insurgency

Suspected New People’s Army (NPA) members torched a bulldozer near a fruit-packing plant in T’boli, South Cotabato, Tuesday night, the military said Wednesday.

The bulldozer, owned by Jargon construction company, was burned near Japanese-owned agro-industrial firm Sumifru’s plant in Sitio Spring, Brgy. Poblacion, around 8:37 p.m., said Capt. Rey Balibagoso, public affairs officer of the Army’s 1002nd Brigade.

Residents told local authorities that two unidentified men carrying long firearms hurriedly withdrew from the area after burning the equipment, Balibagoso said.

The bulldozer was only partially burned because residents put out the fire, he said.

It is believed that the NPA was behind the attack because Jargon had been receiving extortion letters and threats from the rebel group before the incident, Balibagoso said. (John Roson)

– end –

Government troops seized improvised bombs and a gun at a suspected harboring site of New People’s Army (NPA) members in Legazpi City, Albay, early Wednesday.

Members of the 2nd Infantry Battalion found four improvised explosive devices and a caliber-.9mm pistol at a copra kiln in Brgy. Cagbacong around 8:25 a.m., said Capt. Mardjorie Paimela Panesa, public affairs officer of the Army’s 9th Infantry Division.

Also found at the site were 15 meters of electrical wire, a hammock, and subversive documents, Panesa said.

Troops were sent to the area after residents reported the presence of NPA members, but the suspected rebels were already gone when soldiers arrived, she said.

Meanwhile, an NPA member surrendered to security forces in Camalig town, also in Albay, Wednesday morning.

Gilbert Paloma, who uses the aliases Vic and Ric, surrendered to members of the 2nd IB around 8 a.m., Armed Forces Southern Luzon Command spokesman Major Angelo Guzman said. (John Roson)

– end –

Palparan falls

Authorities arrested former Army general Jovito Palparan in Manila, early Tuesday, three years after he went into hiding, the Armed Forces of the Philippines said.

Palparan, charged with two counts of kidnapping and serious illegal detention, was arrested at a house near corner Teresa and Old Sta. Mesa streets in Sta. Mesa district around 3:30 a.m., Maj. Gen. Eduardo Año, chief of the Intelligence Service of the AFP (ISAFP), said in a briefing.

Agents of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), backed by operatives of the Naval Intelligence and Security Force (NISF), carried out the arrest, Año said.

Palparan was arrested after he returned from withdrawing money at an automated teller machine (ATM) kiosk, Año said.

“He has been staying at the house for more than three months… Hindi nakapangalan sa kanya ‘yung ATM (card),” the military intelligence chief said.

The house is owned by one Grace Roa, a “long-time friend” of Palparan’s family, and is located at “busy area” with taxi and jeepney terminals nearby, Año said.

He said it was up to the NBI to determine if Roa should be charged for harboring Palparan.

Palparan’s case stemmed from the disappearance of University of the Philippines students Sherlyn Cadapan and Karen Empeño in Hagonoy, Bulacan, in 2006, when he was still head of the Army’s 7th Infantry Division.

He has been on the run since 2011, after being formally charged at a court in Malolos City, also in Bulacan. 

President Benigno Aquino’s administration has since listed Palparan, who was once praised by former President Gloria Arroyo for successful operations against rebels, as among the country’s top fugitives and placed a P2-million bounty on his head.

“‘Yung informant ng NISF ang makakatangap ng kanyang reward,” said Año, who also heads the military’s Task Force Runway.

The task force was created in 2012 to gather intelligence information that could lead to the capture of high-profile fugitives, including Palparan.

Hunt not easy, Palparan congratulates captors

Año admitted that the hunt for Palparan was not easy, saying “many attempts” were made to arrest the latter in Bataan, Pampanga, Nueva Ecija, Zambales, and even in Cagayan de Oro City, but failed.

“He (Palparan) can hide inside a house for days without getting sunshine, he can be very patient not to communicate with family and friends,” Año said.

But at the time of the arrest, Palparan did not resist and even congratulated troops for finally being able to trace him, he said.

“General Palparan really did not resist the arrest. In fact, he was joking with our operatives and he was saying, ‘Ang gagaling ninyo, naisahan nyo ako kasi naging very lax ako,'” Año said.

Año said he was also able to check on Palparan personally, and the latter also congratulated him.

“Sabi niya he is okay, he even congratulated me. Sabi ko, no sir, it’s not about that, it’s looking at your situation now. Sabi naman niya nagpapasalamat na rin sya at nahuli siya, now he can have a proper medical checkup and he can have his day in court,” Año said.

“What I learned is he has some heart problem and he is also diabetic and mataas ‘yung blood pressure,” he added.

Año admitted to having worked with Palparan in some military conferences during his younger years, but said he had not been  assigned under the latter’s command.

‘Surrender feelers’

In a separate interview, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin revealed that Palparan previously expressed willingness to surrender to President Aquino.

“Gusto niyang magsurrender kay Pangulo. Ang sabi ko naman kay Pangulo, bakit sayo magsu-surrender, sa amin na lang, nung sinabi kong sa amin na lang, wala na, nagtago na… Last year pa yata ‘yun,” Gazmin told reporters.

Año said the military has monitored several threats by the New People’s Army (NPA) on Palparan, even when the latter was still an active military officer.

“He (Palparan) has been a subject of manhunt by the NPA… in three occassions, the NPA, especially the special operations group, got close to him but fortunately he was saved because he has his security and he was also changing his pattern,” Año said.

He said the military has made initial coordinations with the NBI on how to ensure that Palparan’s security.

‘No military coddlers’

Major General Domingo Tutaan, Armed Forces spokesman, said Palparan’s arrest in the “interior area” of Sta. Mesa proves that the military was not coddling the former officer.

“May mga nagsasabi kasi na tinatago siya ng AFP, so eto ngayon, hindi pala totoo,” he said.

“I don’t think this will in any way tarnish the image of the AFP,” Tutaan said when asked on the arrest of Palparan, a former officer evidently still held in esteem by many soldiers.

“He (Palparan) has many friends in the military because he was very good officer when he was in the service, but nobody from the AFP is coddling him,” Año said.

Palparan’s arrest “will also allow him to defend himself from all the criminal charges filed against him and face his accusers in court. This will also protect him from the New People’s Army that has a standing order to have him killed,” AFP public affairs office chief Lt. Col. Ramon Zagala said for his part. (John Roson)

– end –

An Army lieutenant was killed while two other soldiers were injured as government troops clashed with New People’s Army (NPA) members in San Agustin, Surigao del Sur, on Friday, the military said.

The fatality was a second lieutenant and the injured have ranks of private first class, Capt. Christian Uy, Army 4th Infantry Division spokesman, said.

All three belong to the Army’s 3rd Special Forces Battalion (3rd SFB), he said.

The clash erupted in Brgy. Buhisan around 12:30 p.m.

A company of the 3rd SFB was checking on reports that NPA members were “foraging” in the village, when they encountered about 30 rebels, Uy said.

The firefight lasted for about 20 minutes, after which the rebels withdrew to the hinterlands, he said.

Soldiers did not find slain or wounded rebels, but saw trails of blood along their route of withdrawal, Uy said.

A UH-1H helicopter was later sent to the site to fetch the slain and wounded soldiers. The injured are now being treated at a hospital in Butuan City.

“Sa ngayon tuluy-tuloy pa rin ‘yung operations, nagdagdag tayo ng tropa doon at baka mahagip nila uli ‘yung mga tumakbong rebelde,” Uy said. (John Roson)

– end –

Camp Aquino, Tarlac – The Armed Forces plans to declare the “end” of insurgency in Northern Luzon next year to be able to focus on territorial defense, a top military official said Friday.

Maj. Gen. Gregorio Catapang, AFP Northern Luzon Command chief, made the remark as he reported a “low” number of violent incidents involving the New People’s Army (NPA) in his area.

Violent incidents involving the three main NPA committees in Northern Luzon only totaled to 29 from January 1 to August 31, Catapang said in a report presented to media here.

“Non-violent” activities, on the other hand, totaled to 2,361.

Catapang did not say how many rebels are still left in his area of responsibility, but said they were “negligible.”

“We call them NPA remnants because they are manageable or negligible… The only way for them to survive is through extortion and impeding progress” he said.

“The remnants are in areas like Bulacan, but when we hunt them they go to Solcom (Southern Luzon Command) area, Rizal.”

Catapang said Nolcom is also presently pushing for civil projects that will help “end” insurgency.

Among the projects are a network of farm-to-market roads, bridges, port expansions, and schools that amount to more than P70 billion.

Catapang’s presentation on proposed farm-to-market roads had the slogan, “Insurgency ends where road construction begins.”

“The experience we will have here in Central Luzon is it is where insurgency began and where it ended,” Catapang said.

“We will declare Nolcom peaceful and ready for further development next year so we can shift to territorial defense,” he said. (John Roson)

– end –

Two soldiers were killed as government troops clashed with New People’s Army (NPA) members in Esperanza, Agusan del Sur, on Saturday, just a few days after the rebel group carried out an attack that left five civilians dead in the same town.

Lt. Col. Leo Bongosia, spokesman of the Army’s 4th Infantry Division, said the clash occurred in Brgy. Maliwanag around 4 p.m.

Members of the 26th Infantry Battalion encountered about 15 rebels and the firefight lasted for about 15 minutes, Bongosia said in a text message.

The clash came just four days after NPA members killed five civilian workers and burned several heavy equipment of agro-industrial firm Shannalyne Corp. in Brgy. Hawilian on Tuesday.

The NPA claims that the attack was punishment for Shannalyne’s “land-grabbing” and “environmentally-destructive activities,” while the military says the incident stemmed from the company’s refusal to give in to the rebel group’s “extortion.”

Pursuit against those who attacked are still ongoing despite Saturday’s deadly clash, Bongosia said. (John Roson)

– end –

Eight policemen were killed while seven others were injured in an ambush by New People’s Army (NPA) members in Allacapan, Cagayan, early Monday, police said.

Killed were PO3 Vladimir Tabarejo, PO2 Dexter Cubilla, PO2 Angelbert Mateo, PO2 Elmark Rodney Pinated, PO2 Jonnel Bowat, PO2 Ronald Castulo, PO1 Eric Brioso, and PO1 Jerome Sanchez, all members of the Special Action Force’s (SAF) 24th Company, Senior Insp. Cesar Orlanes, Cagayan provincial police spokesman, said in a phone interview.

PO2 Ronald Gomez, PO2 Jeopano Adang, PO2 Ricky Monay, PO2 Jeofrey Amilagan, PO2 Jeofrey Elasco, and PO1 Ephraim Dolete, also members of the SAF’s 24th Company, were still being treated at the hospital as of this writing.

The policemen were passing through the boundary of Brgys. Cataratan and Centro West around 8:30 a.m., when a landmine explosion hit their troop carrier, Orlanes said.

After the blast, about 30 fully-armed rebels fired upon the police team, which was heading towards the town proper to undergo electrocardiogram (ECG) tests, a requirement for an upcoming physical fitness test, he said.

“Some of them (policemen) were even in their athletic uniforms because they were supposed to undergo ECG,” he said.

Despite being injured, some of the policemen engaged the rebels in a firefight, but it was still unknown if the rebels also suffered casualties, Orlanes said.

“Firearms were also reportedly taken from them (policemen), but we have yet to receive information what types these are,” he said.

After the incident, additional policemen arrived at the area to reinforce the ambushed troops and brought the wounded to the Ballesteros District Hospital.

Castulo was among those who were brought to the hospital, but he expired while undergoing treatment, Orlanes said.

Other policemen were still pursuing the rebels as of this writing. (John Roson)

– end –

Five soldiers were killed while two were injured in a clash with New People’s Army (NPA) members Saturday, hours after the rebels attacked a large-scale mine site in Sipalay City, Negros Occidental, on Friday night, the military said.

Capt. Leo Christopher Cunanan, spokesman of the Army’s 303rd Infantry Brigade, declined to name casualties until their families are informed, but said those killed and injured are all enlisted personnel assigned at the 47th Infantry Battalion.

The clash occurred in Sitio Omas, Brgy. Camindangan, around 7:40 a.m. and lasted for about an hour, Cunanan said.

The rebels also managed to take six firearms from the troops, who were sent to pursue an NPA members who attacked the compound of Philex Mining Corp. in the same area, he said.

An undetermined number of rebels entered the mining company’s compound around 9 p.m. Friday, and burned two employees’ barracks, a tractor with drilling machine, generator set, computer, hand held radio, and personal belongings, Cunanan said.

Pursuit operations against the rebels were still continuing Saturday despite the clash that claimed soldiers’ lives, he said.

“The perpetrators shall be identified and will be charged accordingly with appropriate criminal cases in court,” Cunanan added.

Philex Mining is currently trying to revive a copper-gold mine called the “Bulawan Project” in Sipalay City.

The mine was decommissioned in 2002 because of low metal prices prevailing at the time.

Higher gold prices have prompted Philex Mining to re-explore the mine, which is estimated to have 23.9 million tons of mineralized ore. (John Roson)

– end –

Felimon Mendrez. (file photo from Central Visayas regional police)

Felimon Mendrez. (file photo from Central Visayas regional police)

Government troops arrested a ranking New People’s Army (NPA) leader labeled as the country’s sixth most wanted man during an operation in Manjuyod, Negros Oriental, on Tuesday morning, military officials said.

Felimon Mendrez, commander of the NPA Kilusang Rehiyon Negros’ Regional Strike Force, was arrested in Brgy. Tubod around 10 a.m., Col. Francisco Zosimo Patrimonio, commander of the Army’s 302nd Brigade, said.

Operatives of the 302nd Brigade, 33rd Military Intelligence Company, 11th Infantry Battalion, and the Negros Oriental Provincial Police carried out the arrest on warrants for robbery in band and rebellion, Patrimonio said in a text message.

Mendrez, who uses the aliases Tatay and Edon, is number 6 in the police’s most wanted list and has a P5.25-million bounty on his head, said Maj. Enrico Ileto, spokesman of the Army’s 3rd Infantry Division.

Before holding his current position in the rebel movement, Mendrez served as head of the NPA Central Visayas’ Front Committee 2 and deputy head of the Communist Party of the Philippines’ Central Visayas Revolutionary Party Committee, Ileto said.

Mendrez had led some successful tactical offensives against troops in Negros Island and other areas of Central Visayas, Patrimonio said.

“The arrest will certainly give a better opportunity for us in Central Visayas to celebrate the holidays more peacefully,” Maj. Gen. Jose Mabanta, commander of the 3rd ID, said.

“Law enforcement operations” shall continue even as troops observe a suspension of offensive military operations, Mabanta added. (John Roson)

– end –

Government troops foiled an attack by the New People’s Army (NPA) in Quezon, arresting three members of the rebel group who were carrying firearms and explosives in San Francisco town Friday night, the military said.

Arrested were Dennis Quidor, team leader of an NPA “special operations unit;” and Rodrigo Guevarra and Eliseo Lopez, both new “full-time” members of the rebel group, Armed Forces Southern Luzon Command spokesman Col. Generoso Bolina said.

Authorities also took into custody Alex Herez and Ariel Bordane, both residents of San Francisco who were hired by the rebels as drivers, Bolina said in a text message.

The five were apprehended around 11 p.m., when the two motorcycles they were riding passed through a checkpoint manned by soldiers and policemen, he said.

The motorcycles earlier avoided another checkpoint at the military patrol base in Brgy. Ilayang Tayuman, also in the same town, Bolina said.

Quidor, Guevarra, and Lopez were carrying bags that contained an improvised explosive device, a hand grenade, seven blasting caps, an improvised caliber-.22 gun, a loaded M16 rifle magazine, loaded caliber-.45 pistol magazine, poncho, and subversive documents, he said.

“Accordingly, the three were tasked to conduct a ‘final reconnaissance’ before the rebels stage attacks in the towns of Mulanay, San Francisco, and San Narciso,” Bolina said.

Quidor, Guevarra, and Lopez, as well as Herez and Bordane, remain under custody while charges are being prepared, according to the regional military spokesman. (John Roson)

– end –