LEGAZPI CITY (27-Feb-12/PNA) – Four people were killed, including two minors, during a clash between Army soldiers and New People’s Army Rebels (NPA) on Saturday afternoon at barangay (village) Malaya, a hinterland village in Labo town in Camarines Norte, a Philippine Army (PA) officer said on Sunday.
Killed were Rafael Llanto, alias “Gopi,” Vice Kumander of the NPA regional guerrilla unit in Bicol, Benjamin Manzera, 54, his sons Michael, 10 and Richard, 7, according to Maj. Angelo Guzman of the 9th Army Infantry Division spokesperson.
While Leonez Mancera, 14, was wounded and was given first aid emergency treatment by Army soldiers and later taken to the Camarines Norte Provincial Hospital in Daet, Camarines Norte.
Guzman, in a phone interview said a platoon of soldiers from the 49th Infantry Battalion, were responding to a report from a villager about the presence of at least 15 communist rebels at barangay Malaya, an outskirt village of Labo town.
Guzman said at about 1 p.m. Saturday, while the Army troopers were approaching a Nipa hut, NPA rebels armed with high powered assault rifles inside the hut fired at the soldiers, leading to a 10-minute fire fight.
The fierce fire fight resulted to the death of two NPA rebels,and two minors, who were caught in the crossfire.
Guzman said the soldiers, while clearing the areas, later discovered that there were two minors caught in a crossfire when government forces and communist engage in a fire fight.
Recovered from the scene were an M16 rifle and an M14 rifle.
Guzman said they asked the Philippine National Police (PNP) Scene of the Crime Operative (SOCO) to conduct an an investigation.
Army soldiers were on hot pursuit against the communist rebels that fled in nearby villages in Labo town.(PNA)