BARCELONA, Sorsogon – Two wounded NPA rebels were evacuated by government troops to a local hospital after a clash in a hinterland village in Sorsogon, a military official said today, December 7, 2010.
LtCol Santiago Enginco, Commanding Officer of the 49th Infantry Battalion based in Sorsogon said that the two rebels were injured in an encounter with more or less 10 rebels in San Isidro village in Barcelona town at around 5:30am today. He said that one of the wounded rebels is a ranking NPA leader.
1st Lieutenant Sandy Sereno, the Commanding Officer of the Bravo Company of the said battalion who led the operating troops, said that the encounter was a result of a tip-off from a resident in the village.
“I received a text message from a concerned resident of San Isidro village that they were forced out of their homes by heavily armed rebels at around 7:00pm last night. This prompted me to meet him to pinpoint the location of the house where the rebels have encamped for the night,” said Sereno.
Sereno and fourteen of his men, guided by the civilian tipster, proceeded to the area to arrest the rebels. They arrived in the vicinity of the house at around 5:00 am.
“I awakened the rebels and persuaded them to surrender because we had practically surrounded them. We received no reply but gunfires from inside the house, prompting us to return fire,” said Sereno in a phone call to Major Harold Cabunoc.
Two rebels lay dead while two others were wounded after the 10-minute clash. The two dead rebels were identified as a certain Ka Roma and Ka Joshua. They were brought to a local police station in Barcelon town for autopsy.
The two wounded rebels include Jason Brual a.k.a. Ka Butch, the new Commander of the Front Committee 79, and a certain Ka Alvin. Brual is in critical condition and was brought to a hospital in Sorsogon City.
Nelson Punilas aka Ka Juvy was not hurt in the said encounter. He is now detained in the police station in Barcelona town as a criminal case is filed against him.
Enginco said that his troops are now pursuing the fleeing bandits following the trail of blood along their escape route. The soldiers recovered a Norinco Cal .45 pistol, a Dan Wesson Cal .38 Revolver, 3 MK2 Hand Grenades, a laptop computer and subversive documents from the rebels.
Major General Ruperto Pabustan, Commander of the 9th Infantry Division has directed the 49th Infantry Battalion to ensure the proper treatment of the captured rebels in line with the Army’s advocacy of human rights protection.
“Once again, we are showing that our soldiers are not after for more body counts. We believe that we can give peace a chance by allowing the rebels to peacefully surrender; however, they have initiated the exchange of gunfire resulting to the death of some of their comrades,” said Pabustan.