CAMP ELIAS ANGELES, Pili, Camarines Sur – Offended by the forcible collection of NPA ‘revolutionary tax’, a poor farmer dialed the phone number of a military commander to report the presence of a known NPA extortionist in Albay yesterday, a military report said.
LtCol John Oberio, Commander of the 2nd Infantry Battalion, said that the tipster rang his ‘hotline’ at around 9:00 am yesterday, Saturday, and reported the presence of 7 NPA rebels in his neighbor's farm house.
“Sir, if you want to help poor farmers like me, please send soldiers to arrest Ka Tony (a.k.a. Bonoy Orande) and his men who are preparing their meals close to our place,” Oberio quoted the tipster as saying.
Oberio immediately sent a squad of his highly-trained recon team to arrest the rebels who were reported to be in Maonon village, Ligao City.
Through the assistance of the tipster, the troops were able to easily locate the rebels who were temporarily resting in a hut located in Sitio Tambak of the said village.
At around 11:45am, while approaching the location of the bandits, a firefight ensued as the soldiers were being fired upon by the terrorist rebels. The NPA rebels fled the scene after the 10minute firefight, leaving behind some of their belongings.
The soldiers confiscated a Cal .45 M1911A1 Pistol with several rounds of ammunitions, a digital camera, voluminous subversive documents and a medical kit.
Soldiers also found pools of blood in the enemy positions and in their route of withdrawal, indicating that they suffered heavy casualties during the firefight. No one was injured among the soldiers.
Oberio said that he has found the pictures of some notorious bandits posing with their firearms still intact inside the digital camera.
“The rebels are camera-conscious guys too! Fortunately, this will help us identify the extortionists who are still forcibly collecting food or money from the poor residents especially in upland villages,” Oberio said.
Major Harold M Cabunoc, 9ID Spokesperson, said that more and more civilians are providing information to the military regarding the rebel’s extortion activities.
As a result of this cooperation by civilian residents, 4 encounters were recorded in Albay from February to May, resulting to the recovery of three high-powered firearms and the capture of two NPA rebels including one of its leaders identified as a certain Renante Mortel.
Major General Ruperto Pabustan, Commander of the 9th Infantry Division, has personally commended the soldiers for their continuous efforts in defeating the communist insurgency in the Bicol Region.