Rebel killed, several others hurt in Isabela clashes

CAMP MELCHOR DELA CRUZ, Gamu, Isabela — A suspected New People’s Army (NPA) rebel was killed and a still undetermined number of communist guerrillas were wounded in two separate clashes in San Guillermo and Echague towns in Isabela on Tuesday.

Army Captain Jefferson Somera, 5th Infantry Division spokesperson, told the Philippine News Agency on Wednesday that Army soldiers engaged some 20 rebels in a two-hour gunfight in San Miguel, Echague town, while another team fought against insurgents in Rizal, San Guillermo town, resulting in the death of a guerrilla.

Government soldiers from the 95th Infantry Battalion seized five high-powered guns in Echague and found the rebel’s body in San Guillermo town.

Also seized were two bandoliers with magazines for M-16 rifle, two rifle grenades, three improvised explosive devices, four detonating cords, seven blasting caps, a handheld radio, a chain saw, seven backpacks with personal belongings, two mobile phones, assorted medicines, medical paraphernalia and anti-government documents.

Lt. Col. Nolito Quemi, 95th Infantry Battalion commander, said a rebel camp was spotted in San Miguel, Echague town.

“Our troops were approaching the target area when fired upon by the (communist rebels). We managed to outflank the (rebels) and eventually overrun their encampment,” the Army colonel said.

Brig. Gen. Bartolome Vicente Bacarro Jr., 502nd Infantry Brigade commander who supervised the operations, said that the people had tipped off the military about the location of the rebels.

Maj. Gen. Perfecto Rimando Jr., 5th Infantry Division commander, lauded the soldiers for their professionalism, which led to the “successful operation.”

“We also appeal to the rebels and their supporters in the area to help us help their wounded comrades. Our differences in ideologies should not prevent us from helping each other. Just send message to our troops and we will help your comrades get necessary medical attention. We are all Filipinos, remember that,” the Army general said. Bill Visaya/