Wednesday, March 24, 2010

NPA Rebel Captured by Army Soldiers In A Firefight

CAMP ELIAS ANGELES, Pili, Camarines Sur – One NPA rebel who managed the confiscated farm land of a former town mayor was captured when Army soldiers clashed with alleged members of the CPP-NPA-NDF in Lagonoy, Camarines Sur yesterday, a military officer said.

Quoting the report of 1st Lieutenant Dion Eliot, Major Harold M Cabunoc, 9ID Spokesman, said that an 11-man team of the 42nd Infantry Battalion encountered more or less 20 members of the CPP-NPA led by Ka Philip and Ka Tonzip in Bgy Pinamigahan, Lagonoy, Camarines Sur at around 2:30 pm yesterday (23 March).

Two high-powered firearms were recovered including a Cal 5.56mm M16A1 Rifle and Cal .30 M1 Carbine Rifle. A Cal .38 revolver was also confiscated from the possession of Jerry Candelaria y Obias aka Ka Marlon, 27, who peacefully surrendered after being cornered by the soldiers.

“My team was responding to an information provided by a villager that communist rebels were extorting money from the area,” Eliot said. The soldiers spotted the bandit group who were occupying a hut in a secluded area in the barangay.

A 30-minute firefight ensued when the troops closed in on the NPA positions. One of the rebels was caught off-guard by the quick advance of the soldiers forcing him to surrender with his weapon.

Candelaria revealed that he was one of the “managers” of the 200-hectare coconut farm owned by the late Mayor Leoncio Gan of Goa which was confiscated by the CPP-NPA-NDF some years ago.

“The group of Ka Tonzip murdered Mayor Gan sometime in 2002. We took over the possession of his land located in three baranggays Tabgon, Lamon and San Isidro West,” Candelaria, who fully cooperated with the military, said during a phone interview.

When told about the Social Integration Program of the government, Candelaria expressed willingness to help the Army in its ISO campaign in Bicol Region. “I am happy to know that some of my former comrades will receive the cash benefits and livelihood assistance from the President herself,” he said.

Major General Ruperto Pabustan, Commander of the 9th Infantry Division, lauded the soldiers for their new accomplishment. He has directed all soldiers to disseminate the SIP through radio programs and organized meetings to enjoin NPA rebels back to the folds of the law.

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