CAMP ELIAS ANGELES, Pili, Camarines Sur – Army soldiers clash with a band of NPA extortionists in an upland village in Catanduanes at around 7:30 am today, a military official said.
LtCol Danilo Aquino, Commander of the 83rd Infantry Battalion based in this island province said that a platoon of the 7th Scout Ranger Company led by First Lieutenant Ronel Estabillo, supported by another platoon from his battalion, clashed with more or less 20 NPA extortionist rebels under the Nerissa San Juan Command led by a certain Daniel Frias a.k.a. Tabs, in San Isidro Village of Bagamanoc town.
“I sent the platoon of the elite Scout Rangers together with a platoon from my battalion after receiving a text message from a resident that several members of the terrorist rebels were roaming around in the village to extort money and food provisions from them (resident),” said Aquino.
A ten-minute firefight ensued when the rebels started firing their guns as the troops approached their positions.
The rebels hurriedly fled the scene of the firefight leaving behind a Cal 7.62mm M14 Assault Rifle, two ICOM hand-held radios and several rounds of live ammunitions.
The soldiers in the scene reported the presence of ‘pool of blood’ along the route of withdrawal, indicating that the rebels incurred casualties during the firefight.
The presence of civilians near the rebel positions made it difficult for the soldiers to corner all the rebels.
All soldiers have been given stern warning to respect human rights and prevent collateral damage during armed encounters with the rebels.
Major General Ruperto Pabustan, Commander of the 9th Infantry Division has promptly commended the 83rd Infantry Battalion for their latest feat.
“I am very glad that you have duplicated the professionalism of the other soldiers who figured in successful encounters in Albay and Camarines Sur recently. We have received so much support from the civilians because they know that we don’t put them into harms way during clashes,” said Pabustan.
Brigadier General Marlo Salazar, Commander of the 901st Brigade which has jurisdiction over Catanduanes and Albay, has ordered the conduct of pursuit operations to hunt down the remaining rebels.