Friday, November 6, 2015

11 soldiers killed, 9 wounded in Bicol clashes; NDF reports 18 encounters in 5 provinces

From the Website of INTERAKSYON

11 soldiers killed, 9 wounded in Bicol clashes; NDF reports 18 encounters in 5 provinces
The online news portal of TV5

MANILA - The New People’s Army-Romulo Jallores Command (NPA-RJC) in Bicol launched 18 coordinated attacks in five provinces from October 25 to November 2, killing eight soldiers, two policemen and a militiaman and wounding nine.

In a belated report issued by Ma. Roja Banua, the regional National Democratic Front (NDF) spokeswoman in Bicol, two M-16 automatic rifles and two M-14 rifles were seized during the operations.

Banua said the main targets of the NPA-RJC, which acts as the regional operational command of the guerrilla army, were members of the 9th Infantry Battalion (IB), which has been operating in Ticao Island in Masbate, Sorsogon, Albay, Camarines Sur, and Camarines Norte.

“The tactical offensives were the answer of the NPA to the desperate moves of the 9th ID of the Philippine Army (PA) to declare Masbate and Sorsogon as ‘manageable conflict area’ before the May 9, 2016 elections,” Banua declared.

She noted the tactical offensives came at a time when the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) was focusing its units in the third congressional district of Albay, Libmanan in Camarines Sur, and in Labo, Camarines Norte.

“The offensives are also a political assault against the most expensive and most ostentatious show being put up by President Aquino and his henchmen for the foreign dignitaries attending the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting in Manila from November 16 to 18,” Banua said.

“Most of all, these actions honor the memory of the valiant comrades who fell in a defensive battle in Barangay Tinago, Juban, Sorsogon on October 21, 2015,” the regional NDF leader said.

At 8 p.m. on October 31, a guerrilla team harassed the detachment of the 9th IB in Barangay Danao, San Jacinto in Ticao, Masbate, and around midnight, another NPA team harassed the headquarters of the Battalion Recon Company in Sitio Catindong, Barangay Maingaran, Masbate City. A soldier was killed and another trooper was wounded in the attack.

NPA guerrillas also tossed a grenade at the barangay hall of Dayao, Mandaon at 2:30 a.m. on November 1, killing two soldiers and wounding another trooper. The barangay hall was being used by soldiers guarding the road construction project of Hitone Construction Co.

At midnight of the same day, a demolition team from the NPA-Jose Rapsing Command (NPA-JRC) blasted the safe house of 18 soldiers of the same battalion in Barangay Poblacion, San Jacinto, Ticao using a command detonated explosive (CDX.) The surprised soldiers could not retaliate as the guerrillas fired, killing four troopers in the process and wounding an undetermined number of military men.

Banua said that at 2:45 p.m. on November 2, members of the NPA-Celso Minguez Command (NPA-CMC) ambushed a Philippine National Police (PNP) patrol vehicle in Barangay Marinas, Gubat, Sorsogon, Five policemen were injured seriously and two were slain.

The wounded policemen were identified as SPO1 Ronald Din, PO3 Aris Hasal, PO1 Gerry Gabuyo, PO2 Dennis Garbida, and PO2 Sheryl Marbella.

At 8:30 a.m. on November 1, a team from the NPA-Santos Binamera Command (NPA-SBC) harassed the detachment of the 2nd IB in Barangay Bascaran, Daraga, Albay simultaneous with the demolition operation in Barangay Villahermosa, Daraga, Albay against the members of the Provincial Public Safety Company (PPSC.)

In Camarines Sur, an attack was launched at 9 p.m. on October 25, 2015 by members of the NPA-Edmundo Jacob Command (NPA-EJC) against abusive soldiers staying in a detachment of the 22nd IB in Barangay San Pedro, Iriga City.

On October 28, members of the NPA-Norben Gruta Command (NPA-NGC) launched a sparrow operation against Private First Class (Pfc) Edmol Rey C. Caceres of the Charlie Company who was assigned to guard a road construction project in Pag-Oring, Libmanan that would benefit foreign mining companies and the eco-tourism drive by the Camarines Sur provincial government.

The NPA seized an M-16 rifle from Caceres as the soldier’s colleagues failed to defend him.

Another harassment operation was launched on the same day by the NPA against a unit of the 42nd IB that had transformed a barangay hall in Bilwang, Lupi, Camarines Sur into their barracks.

On October 31, the NPA-EJC harassed a military patrol that came from the 22nd IB detachment in Barangay San Pedro, Iriga City.

NPA-NGC guerrillas also harassed units of the 42nd IB in Barangays Calabnigan and Villa Socorro in Libmanan, Camarines Sur who had occupied the barangay hall for a long time.

“The attack was in retaliation for the abuses committed by the soldiers belonging to the Peace and Development Team (PDT) against the residents who had complained that the troopers were disturbing the community, hindering their livelihood and threatening them to ensure that their abuses go unreported,” Banua revealed.

At 11 p.m. on October 31, a platoon of the NPA-Armanda Catapia Command (NPA-ACC) in Camarines Norte raided a unit of the 49th IB guarding a bridge construction project of the EUS Construction in Barangay Daguit, Labo and seized two M-14 rifles and an M-16 automatic rifle.

Killed in the raid were Pvt. Reymark Camila Regore and Anthony Aceron of the Civilian Armed Auxiliary (CAA) of the 22nd IB while Pfc. Jhelor Caranzo was wounded.

Banua said the region-wide tactical offensives in a span of nine days showed the high level of coordination by the various NPA commands and disproved the claim of the military that the guerrillas are a “spent force in Bicol.”

On the contrary, the NDF leader stressed, “the vast countryside continues to be an interminable source of Red fighters and military cadres who continue to deal severe blows on the enemy through their tactical offensives. These weaken not only the military but also the ruling system that oppresses and exploits the people. Those who fell are quickly replaced by those who have become conscious of the greed and violent nature of the US-Aquino regime and the narcopoliticians in Bicol.”

Banua added that “APEC is but one moro-moro that intensifies the US neoliberal project in the Philippines and Asia-Pacific that focuses on the plunder of natural resources and the exploitation of cheap Philippine labor. The NPA is determined to eliminate local despots and mercenary officers and soldiers who protect foreign exploiters and their local cohorts -- the big landlords and the comprador big bourgeoisie.”