Soldier killed in clash with Reds in Quezon

CAMP GEN. CAPINPIN, Tanay, Rizal — A soldier was killed while an undetermined number of New People’s Army rebels were seriously wounded in two armed encounters Sunday morning in two sub-villages in Quezon.

Reports reaching the Philippine Army’s 2nd Infantry “Jungle Fighter” Division (2ID) camp here on Monday said the troops of the 92nd Infantry Battalion (92IB) twice clashed with NPA insurgents in Sitio Dadyangao and Sitio Madaraki in Barangay Umiray in General Nakar town, Quezon.

Lt. Col. Christopher M. Diaz, Commanding Officer of the 92IB, said the soldiers were conducting Focus Military Operation (FMO) in the area following intelligence report and tips from civilian residents that a group of armed NPAs were extorting rice and money from the Dumagat indigenous people (IP).

Diaz said the government troops first encountered around 10:40 a.m. an undetermined number of armed rebels who belong to the Platoon 4A2, Guerilla Front Cesar of the Southern Tagalog Regional Party Committee.

He reported that one soldier identified as Pvt. James Lanes, 24, from Sultan Kudarat, was killed during the 20-minute firefight in Sitio Dadyangao.

He added that an undetermined number of NPA casualties were reported after heavy blood stains were traced at the enemies’ position.

The troops believed the rebels brought along their wounded comrades while retreating from the battle site.

Diaz also reported that the military troops engaged the state enemies in another 15-minute firefight, an hour later around 11:45 a.m. in another sub-village Sitio Madaraki where they conducted pursuit operations while tracking down traces of heavy blood stains left by the retreating rebels.

However, there were no reported casualties from the pursuing troops and the enemies during the 15-minute gun battle.

Brig. Gen. Arnulfo Marcelo B. Burgos Jr., Commander of the 202nd Brigade, who has operational jurisdiction over Calabarzon said the troops have sustained their tracking down operations against the NPAs in the area.

They are now running out of ammunitions with the recent two encounters; they are now tired and they have wounded comrades. We will pursue these NPA remnants until they are destroyed,” Burgos vowed.

Meanwhile, Philippine Army 2nd Infantry Division (2ID) Commander, Maj. Gen. Rhoderick M. Parayno has extended his condolences to the family of the fallen soldier.

“Rest assured that his bravery and heroism will be treasured and will never be forgotten. His example of sacrifice will continue to inspire us to strive more on our mission of protecting the people against all NPA threats and coercion especially of the Dumagat IP in Quezon,” Parayno said.