Tag Archive: New People’s Army

5 rebels killed in Bukidnon clash

Five New People’s Army members were killed while two soldiers were wounded as government troops clashed with a large band of rebels who ambushed them in Pangantucan, Bukidnon, on Tuesday, the military said Wednesday.

Troops recovered the slain rebels’ bodies, along with an AK-47 rifle, 19 back packs, food and medical supplies, and subversive documents, said Captain Albert Caber, spokesman of the Armed Forces’ Eastern Mindanao Command.

An officer and an enlisted personnel of the Army’s 3rd Special Forces Company (3rd SFC) were also wounded in the clash and have been taken to the hospital, Caber said by phone.

“Residents reported that there are at least five other rebels who have been wounded, so it’s possible that the casualties will rise. Clearing operations are ongoing as we speak,” he added.

The clash occurred 4:14 p.m. in Brgy. Mendiz, but was reported to the regional military command only Wednesday because of poor communication lines in the area, according to Caber.

Fighting lasted for one hour and 30 minutes before the rebels withdrew, he said.

According to Caber, elements of the 3rd SFC went to that barangay to check reports on the presence of NPA members.

“May nagreport kasi na may mga NPA dun, so pinuntahan ng SF to verify. While on their way, pinutukan na agad sila, so nagretaliate ‘yung SF. More or less 60 ‘yung nakalaban nila doon,” Caber said.

“Ambush talaga ang nangyari, kaya lang nakapag-return fire ‘yung SF,” he said.

The slain rebels have yet to be identified but information from the ground indicate that they were members of the North Central Mindanao Regional Commitee and were led by an alias “Andy,” Caber said.

Troops have already coordinated with the local government to help identify the slain rebels and facilitate their burial, he said. (John Roson)

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Five New People’s Army (NPA) members were killed while sevaral high-powered firearms were seized as government troops clashed with the rebel group in Alabel, Sarangani, on Monday, the military said.

The slain rebels’ bodies were recovered but their identities have yet to be determined, 1Lt. Vergel Lacambra, public affairs officer of the Army’s 10th Infantry Division, said by phone.

The clash in Sitio Tugal, Brgy. Datal Anggas, erupted around 8 a.m.

Elements of the 73rd Infantry Battalion encountered about 30 rebels led by alias “Lucas,” secretary of the NPA Far-South Mindanao Regional Committee’s Front 75, Lacambra said.

Two MG-520 attack helicopters from the Air Force provided close-air support to the ground troops, he said.

No one was hurt among the government troops, who also recovered two AK-47 rifles, an M653 Baby Armalite rifle, and three M16 rifles from the rebels, Lacambra said. (John Roson)

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Four soldiers and a New People’s Army (NPA) member were killed while five other security personnel were injured as the rebel group attacked the police station in Mati City, Davao Oriental, Sunday night, authorities said Monday.

Killed were Pfc. Daniel Damansila Jr., Pvt. Ryan Amigo, Pfc. Wil Christian Resuelo, Sgt. Adel Lucanan, and a still unidentified NPA member, said Colonel Romeo Brawner, spokesman of the Armed Forces’ Eastern Mindanao Command.

Injured were one policeman, Pfc. Virgil Logronio, Pfc. Emerito Castillo, Pfc. Ian Mark Babiera, and Pfc. Zaldy Canonero, Brawner said.

About 50 rebels carried out the attack around 7:30 p.m., he said.

Some of them, who were on an Elf truck, two vans, and five motorcycles, arrived at the police station and fired on it so policemen fought it out with them, Brawner said.

Members of the Davao Oriental provincial police reinforced the police station upon learning the incident, Southern Mindanao regional police spokesman Superintendent Antonio Rivera said.

Troops of the Army’s 701st Brigade on armored personnel carriers also reinforced the policemen and engaged the rebels in a running gun battle, Brawner said.

A policeman was wounded while an NPA member was killed during the clash in Brgy. Poblacion, he said.

Elements of the 104th Division Reconnaissance Company were also sent to join the pursuit, but were landmined around 8 p.m.

Members of that unit were on the way to the clash site when a landmine explosion hit the truck were riding in Sitio Magay, Brgy. Don Martin Marundan, only 300 maters away from the 701st Brigade headquarters, Brawner said.

Two landmines exploded near the brigade headquarters, Rivera said.

Damansila and Amigo died on the spot. Resuelo was initially wounded along with Logronio, Castillo, Babiera, and Canonero, but he expired in the hospital later, Brawner said.

Lucanan, on the other hand, died after being shot at a rebel checkpoint near the Saint Camillus Hospital in Brgy. Matiao.

Lucanan was unarmed and in civilian clothes at the time, but he introduced himself as soldier because the men at the roadblock were in PNP uniforms, Brawner said.

Lieutenant General Aurelio Baladad, commander of the Eastern Mindanao Command, condemned the organized attack, particularly the use of landmines.

He said the attack was meant to embarrass the government since Davao Oriental was already declared “insurgency free” in 2013.

“They (NPA) gathered rebels from other provinces to attack and disrupt the already peaceful lives of the people of Davao Oriental,” Baladad said.

Major General Eduardo Año, commander of the Army’s 10th Infantry Division, called the attack a “desperate move” by the NPA amid developmental programs of Davao Oriental.

“We condemn this attack, which was notably carried out in a populated community… Davao Oriental remains a development-ready province. We will keep it that way,” he added. (John Roson)

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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)

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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)

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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)

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The mayor of Impasug-ong, Bukidnon, died after suspected New People’s Army (NPA) members ambushed his convoy this morning (Wednesday), authorities said.

Mayor Mario Okinlay was brought to the Malaybalay Polymedic Hospital because of a bullet wound, but he expired after a few hours, Maj. Christian Uy, spokesman of the Army’s 4th Infantry Division, said by phone.

Okinlay’s convoy was passing through Brgy. Bontongon around 8:20 a.m., when it was fired upon by at least three armed men, Uy said.

Okinlay and 20 employees of the local government unit and policemen were riding motorcycles, followed by a team of soldiers from the Army’s 8th Infantry Battalion who were on a 6×6 truck, he said.

The soldiers returned fire, but the assailants quickly fled, Uy said.

Insp. Joann Galvez, Bukidnon provincial police spokesperson, said Okinlay had just finished conducting a public service program called “Hatod Serbisyo” in Bontongon and was returning to Brgy. Poblacion – located some 18 kilometers away – when suspected NPA members ambushed the convoy.

The mayor suffered a bullet wound to the abdomen during the attack, she said.

Around 11:30 a.m., Okinlay’s brother Dodo, a barangay kagawad, confirmed to police that the mayor passed away, Galvez said.

Authorities suspect the NPA of carrying out the attack because of previous intelligence reports on the rebels’ plan to kill the mayor, she said.

Last June 25, the provincial police’s intelligence branch told the Impasug-ong Police about the NPA’s plan to liquidate Okinlay, Galvez said.

This prompted the town’s police chief to meet with the mayor that day to discuss precautionary and preventive measures, she said.

Uy, for his part, said the rebels might be angry with Okinlay for cooperating with government troops.

“Nakikipag-coordinate siya sa amin, including on this medical mission sa Bontongon. Siguro gusto nilang (rebels) i-discredit yung mga ganitong programs ng local governments with the military,” Uy said, adding that Impasug-ong was once a “rebel-influenced” area.

All police stations in the province have been told to be on the alert and “advise their respective mayors to be cautious because of the incident,” Galvez said.

The provincial police has activated a special investigation task group to identify and charge those who killed Okinlay, while other police units and Army troops were sent to pursue the assailants, she added. (John Roson)

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(Updated 2:10 a.m.) Five civilians and 11 soldiers were injured when New People’s Army (NPA) members carried out back-to-back landmine attacks in Bansalan, Davao del Sur, Sunday, the military said.

The latest explosion occurred 7:30 p.m. in Sitio Tower, Brgy. Managa, hitting an ambulance with civilian volunteers of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC) on board, Capt. William Alfred Rodriguez, civil-military operations officer of the Army’s 1002nd Brigade, said by phone.

The military identified the injured volunteers as Alberto Cabual Jr., Henaro Dumayas, Arnel Valeroso, Ivan Malingo, and Bonita Dela Cruz.

Dumayas and Cabual are reportedly in critical condition at the Digos Doctors Hospital while the others suffered slight injuries, Rodriguez said.

The PDRRMC ambulance, along with two others manned by Red Cross members and soldiers, was on its way to fetch soldiers who were injured in another landmine blast in Sitio Balutakay, also in Brgy. Managa, past 11 a.m. Rodriguez said.

Eleven members of the 39th Infantry Battalion, including two officers, were injured in the earlier blast, he said. Four of the soldiers are reportedly in critical condition.

The wounded soldiers’ names and ranks were not immediately available.

Troops were sent to Managa to check an information that rebels were “consolidating” in the barangay, Rodriguez said.

The soldiers clashed with an undetermined number of rebels for about an hour and were maneuvering when they were landmined, he said.

Additional soldiers have been sent to the area to extricate the landmined ambulance amid intelligence reports that the rebels will sieze it, Rodriguez said.

Four members of the NPA’s Front 51 were reportedly killed and several others are believed to be hurt during the clash, he said.

The NPA, the Communist Party of the Philippines’ armed wing, is set to celebrate its 45th founding anniversary on March 29. (John Roson)

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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)

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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)

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