LEGAZPI CITY, Feb. 15 (PNA) —- An Army official in Bicol has identified the four New People’s Army rebels who were killed in an early morning encounter with government troopers in Barangay Pangle, Aroroy, Masbate on Monday, said a report reaching Camp General Simeon Ola, headquarters of Police Regional Office in Bicol or PRO5, Wednesday.
The report quoted Capt. Joash Pramis, spokesman of the Division of Public Affairs Office of the 9th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army, who identified the communist guerrillas as Luis Gonzaga, alias “Jaypee,” alleged to be an NPA commander operating in the northern part of Masbate; Jerome Verano “alias Ruben;” Marko Tugbo, “alias Frank;” and one alias “Erwin,” said to be another ranking rebel leader in the province.
Lt. Col. Red Cabanizas, commander of the 2nd Infantry Battalion, in an interview, said a scout platoon led by 1st Lt. April John S. Del Rosario was conducting the patrol operation in Barangay Pangle at 6:30 a.m. when the encounter with the government troops occurred.
Pramis said the government soldiers on patrol engaged a 20-man band in a 20-minute firefight. He believed more rebels were wounded though they managed to get away as bloodstains were traced in their escape route leading to the forested portion of Aroroy.
Recovered from the scene were assorted firearms including two M14 and two M16 rifles; an M203 rifle; an improvised explosive device or IED; a rifle grenade and a hand grenade.
Also found were three bandoliers for M14, M16 and M203, loaded with ammunition; an VHF Icom radio; detonating switch and wire; and four backpacks containing personal belongings and subversive documents.
Cabanizas said the government soldiers initially brought the bodies to the police station in Aroroy town as police waited for the families of the four NPA rebels to claim them.
“The dead rebels will be given decent burial,” he said.
Aroroy Mayor Arturo Virtucio has offered to help shoulder the funeral expenses of the communist guerrillas.
Pramis added the bodies were already brought to St. Lawrence Funeral Homes in Barangay Jaboyoan in Aroroy town proper.
It was the second reported encounter in the province following the aborted talks between the government and Communist Party of the Philippines and NPA, its armed wing, early this month.
On February 6, Cpl. Mark Alfred Repol of the 93rd Division Reconnaisance Company was reported by police authorities in the Masbate as wounded in an encounter in Barangay Amotag, 21 kilometers away from the poblacion of Aroroy. (PNA) LAP/GVR/SMT/CBD