Tag Archive: NPA

(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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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)

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Rebels snatch 10 persons in Caraga

Suspected New People’s Army (NPA) members abducted seven militiamen, two policemen, and a civilian in separate incidents in the Caraga region on Sunday and Monday, authorities said Tuesday.

Mario Libanda, 39; Tuloy Libanda, 36; Rejoy Francisco, 25; and Rubio Asalan, 23, all members of the Civilian Active Auxiliary (CAA), were abducted at a checkpoint manned by about 30 rebels in Brgy. Mahayhay, San Luis, Agusan del Sur, around 9 a.m. Monday, Army spokesman Lt. Col. Randolph Cabangbang said.

The militiamen were riding a motorcycle to Brgy. Binicalan, San Luis, when they were flagged down at the rebel checkpoint, he said.

The fully-armed men at the roadblock are believed to be members of the NPA North Central Mindanao Regional Committee’s Guerrilla Front 88, Cabangbang said.

Militiamen assigned to nearby Army detachments have been directed to track down the rebels while local officials of San Luis have created a crisis management task group to work for the victims’ release, he said.

The abduction occurred only several hours after other NPA members abducted two policemen in Loreto, also in Agusan del Sur, on Sunday night.

PO2 Ronald Alan Muñez and PO1 Nemuel España, both assigned at the Loreto Police Station, were abducted by about six rebels in Brgy. Poblacion around 11:15 p.m. Caraga regional police spokesman Supt. Martin Gamba said.

Muñez and España were conducting surveillance operations against the suspect for a stabbing incident in Sitio Moto, when the rebels seized and brought them towards Sitio Marang, Brgy. Kasapa, Gamba said.

The local government of Loreto has activated a crisis management committee to work for the hostages’ release, he said.

Earlier on Sunday, rebels abducted three more militiamen and a civilian in Tagbina, Surigao del Sur.

At least five rebels abducted CAA members Evangeline Cabodbod, Leonardo Sevellejo Sr., Danny Sevellejo, and civilian Vicente Bolgado near Road 4H in Sitio Greenfield, Brgy. Sta. Juana, around 10 a.m., according to a report from the Army’s 4th Infantry Division.

The four had just attended mass when they were seized by armed men who are believed to be members of the NPA North Eastern Mindanao Regional Committee’s Guerrilla Front 14, the report said.

Capt. Christian Uy, acting spokesman of the 4th ID, confirmed the report, but said the rebels have already freed Bolgado.

The incident occurred less than an hour after five rebel snipers fired at the 23rd Infantry Battalion’s patrol base in Sitio Greenfield.

Lito Dagium, one of the militiamen manning the patrol base that time, suffered a bullet wound to the right side of the body due to the sniping.

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Rebels raid pearl farm in Palawan

Armed men who introduced themselves as communist rebels raided a pearl farm in Taytay, Palawan, where they seized six employees, firearms, and communication equipment, a military spokesperson said.

About 12 armed men, who told the pearl farm’s manager that they are New People’s Army (NPA) members, carried out the raid at the Salvamar Pearl Farm in Brgy. Pampang past 12 noon, Armed Forces Western Command spokesperson Lt. Cherryl Tindog said by phone.

“Nung umatake ‘yung armed group, tangay nila yung mga shotguns, handheld radios, saka speedboats ng kompanya. Kasama ‘yung mga operators ng speedboats kaya naging anim ‘yung tinangay nilang katao,” Tindog said.

The rebels, however, released the six pearl farm employees past 3 p.m. or around 4 p.m., she said.

“Nasa custody na ng provincial police ‘yung anim na personnel… ni-release sila ng abductors, sa ngayon naga-undergo sila ng debriefing at ‘yung medical attention ibinibigay na rin,” Tindog said.

The regional military spokesperson declined to say where the hostages were freed so as not to jeopardize ongoing pursuit operations by troops.

Tindog said it is likely that the attack stemmed from extortion because the NPA had previously sent “demand letters” to the pearl farm management.

“Merong kasing mga previous incidents na ‘yung grupo ng NPA na ito, under the leadership ni alyas Ka Arnel, na meron silang demand letters na nag-eextort sila doon. Siguro dahil hindi naibibigay, hindi naggi-five in ‘yung management ng Salvamar Pearl Farm, kaya nag-retaliate sila,” she said.

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A band of New People’s Army (NPA) members abducted a soldier and a policeman while conducting a “checkpoint” in Laak, Compostela Valley, on Thursday, a military official said.

Maj. Jacob Thaddeus Obligado, head of the Army’s 10th Civil Military Operations Battalion, identified the abducted soldier as Pfc. Jezreel Culango and the policeman, PO1 Ruel Pasion.

The two were abducted by members of the NPA Southern Mindanao Regional Committee’s Front 34, who conducted a checkpoint in Sitio Mangob, Brgy. Imelda, around 9 a.m., Obligado said in a text message late Thursday night.

Culango, based in Brgy. Sawata, San Isidro, Davao del Norte, was on his way to visit his girlfriend in Brgy. Mangloy when he was seized, Obligado said.

Pasion, assigned at the San Isidro Police Station, also happened to pass by the checkpoint when he was abducted, according to the military official.

The rebels, of whom 12 were seen sporting military attires and 18 in civilian clothes, were last seen heading towards Sitio Tugpahan, Brgy. Imelda, along with their captives, Obligado said.

Police and military personnel are were sent to pursue the rebels.

The abduction came just two days after the government and Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) ended an “extended” holiday ceasefire.

On Thursday, the CPP also warned of more offensives by the NPA, in response to new Armed Forces chief of staff Lt. Gen. Emmanuel Bautista’s pronouncement to make insurgency “irrelevant” during his term.

“The New People’s Army continues to grow in number and in terms of firepower… Over the next few years, the NPA and the people’s militias will be able to initiate more frequent and widespread tactical offensives at the front, regional, inter-regional and national levels,” the CPP’s information bureau said in a statement.

“General Bautista cannot stop the momentum of growth of the New People’s Army,” it added.

Bautista, who is credited for the military’s current counter-insurgency plan “Bayanihan,” took over as AFP chief of staff on Thursday. (John Roson)

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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)

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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)

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4 killed in Negros Occidental clash

(Updated 7:00 p.m.) Two government soldiers and two suspected New People’s Army (NPA) members were killed in a clash in Isabela, Negros Occidental, on Thursday, the military said.

Four soldiers and a still undetermined number of rebels have been injured, Capt. Anacito Naz, spokesman of the Army’s 302nd Brigade, said by phone.

The fighting started around 8 a.m., when patrolling members of the 11th Infantry Battalion’s Alpha company encountered rebels in Sitio Mapaho-paho, Brgy. San Agustin, Naz said.

Capt. Ariel Quirog, spokesman of the 11th IB, said sporadic firefight against the rebels, who were found to have camps in the area, went on until 12 noon.

Hindi lang isa o dalawang beses nabangga ng tropa ‘yung kalaban,” Quirog said, adding that about 40 rebels figured in the clash.

Troops later seized a rebel camp, where a caliber-.45 pistol, two magazines, eight backpacks, and several “subversive documents” were found, he said.

The wounded soldiers, who include an officer ranked 2nd lieutenant, have been airlifted to a hospital on a UH-1H helicopter, Quirog said.

Additional troops were sent to the area to run after the rebels and were still scouring nearby areas Thursday evening. (John Roson)

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A policeman was killed while another was injured when alleged New People’s Army (NPA) members raided the police station of Roxas, Palawan, Wednesday morning, authorities said.

SPO3 Monsito Rabang was killed while SPO2 Pablo Acosta injured, Chief Supt. Edgar Layon, deputy director for administration of the Mimaropa regional police, said in a report sent to Camp Crame.

The rebels also carted away several firearms, Senior Supt. Reynaldo Jagmis, Palawan Provincial Police director, said in a phone interview.

Jagmis said the incident occurred shortly after around 20 armed men arrived at the Roxas Police Station on two vans carrying the registration plates VVC-660 and WTU-246, between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m.

“Nagpanggap na mga sundalo sila (rebels) at may itu-turnover daw na huli, pero nung tinatanong na ng desk officer kung nasaan na ‘yung huli, isa-isa nang nagpasukan at tinutukan ‘yung mga pulis,” Jagmis said.

Rabang was shot when he tried to disarm one of the rebels. Acosta also tried to resist so he was also shot, Jagmis said.

Acosta was rushed to a local hospital and later transferred to a medical facility in the capital, Puerto Princesa City, the provincial police chief said.

Later in the day, security forces found the vans used by the rebels abandoned in Port Barton, San Vicente, Supt. Imelda Tolentino, Mimaropa regional police spokesperson, said.

“They (rebels) left a letter denouncing the existence of mining,” Tolentino said in a statement.

2Lt. Anne Abrigo, acting spokesperson of the Armed Forces’ Western Command, said the military was informed of the incident past 10 a.m.

Troops, supported by an OV-10 plane and a S76 Sikorsky helicopter, were deployed to pursue the attackers.

Reinforcements were also sent to Roxas, while policemen and other soldiers were ordered to conduct checkpoints.

The raid came just three days after alleged NPA members briefly held employees and burned a backhoe of Citi Nickel Mining Corporation in Sofronio Española town, near Palawan’s southeastern tip, on Sunday.

All police stations in the province have been directed to intensify intelligence-gathering operations to prevent further attacks, Jagmis said. (John Roson)

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Ormoc’s most wanted falls

A former New People’s Army (NPA) commander on top of Ormoc City’s most wanted list has been arrested, a police official said.

Conrado Labartini alias Kumander Dondon was arrested at his home in Brgy. Nadongholan, Ormoc City Police director Senior Supt. Elizar Egloso said.

Members of the city police’s investigation and intelligence sections carried out the arrest 3 p.m. Friday on a warrant for two counts of murder and a frustrated murder, with no bail recommended, Egloso said.

The warrant, issued by Ormoc City Regional Trial Court Branch 35 Judge Apolinario Buaya, was for allegedly killing two policemen and wounding another in 2004.

“Dati siyang (Labartini) commander ng NPA, ngayon lang siya nadakip kasi tumiwalag na siya. Kampante siya akala niya na wala na siyang pending case,” Egloso said.

Labartini, now 45 years old, was brought to the Ormoc City Police Station 1 after undergoing physical and medical examination.

He is expected to be turned over to the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology. (John Roson)

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