By Joey Natividad
DAET, Camarines Norte (BicolToday.com/01-May-2012) – New Peoples Army (NPA) rebels on Sunday noon (April 29) in Camarines Norte province claimed seizing eight firearms (8) from Army soldiers in a firefight in Barangay Maot, Labo town. Carted by the rebels were six (6) M16 armalite rifles, K3-SAW (squad automatic weapon), and a caliber 45 pistol, after killing 4 government troopers and wounding another.
The soldiers killed belonged to the 49th Infantry Battalion, currently conducting combat operations over the week under Oplan Bayanihan in the province. Killed were Army Corporal Amado Perillo, Pfc. Paulo Portiscio, Pfc. Teodoro Ojeda, and Pfc Dionisio Putian. Wounded in the NPA attack was Army Pfc. Leland Besada.
The NPA guerrillas, belonging to the Armando Catapia Command, also confiscated a laptop computer and several items of military value.
A statement sent by email on Tuesday (May 1) by Greg Bañares, spokesman of the National Democratic Front (NDF)- Bicol Region, said the NPA action was “in retaliation for the human rights abuses committed by government soldiers in Camarines Norte, including the massacre of Mancera family in Barangay Malaya, Labo, in February this year. The massacre, which was officially denied by the Army as an encounter, resulted in the death of civilians Benjamin Mancera and his 2 minor children and wounding of another daughter.
However, on Sunday’s NPA attack in Maot, civilians Francisco Ruales was killed and Marlo Matibag was wounded in the crossfire. The NDF claimed offers of assistance had been relayed to the civilian victims’ families, while blaming militarization of Labo’s 16 villages since February which resulted to civilians being affected in times of conflict.
“The government soldiers were using civilian residences, daycare centers, public buildings, and barangay halls as barracks in their military operations, and harassed civilians in forcing them to admit they are members or supporters of the NPA,” said Bañares, in the statement.
The NPA attack was timed when the outpost was being under-manned by 10 soldiers with their team leader, 2Lt.Eric Estravilio, after 9 other soldiers went to nearby Barangay Calabasa to bet on a cockfight, the statement said.
In Sorsogon Province, rebel groups claimed wounding two Army soldiers in a firefight on Sunday (April 29) at Barangay Bulacao , Gubat, Sorsogon. The soldiers were “earmarked for revolutionary punishment for alleged involvement in death squads engaged in summary executions and extra-judicial killings of civilian supporters and members of the NPA .”
The NPA Celso Minguez Command in Sorsogon Province, in a statement on Monday (April 30) , said the 2 Army soldiers (names withheld) was “found guilty of involvement in death squad in Sorsogon which resulted in the killings of Edmundo Villareo, a mechanic in Gubat, Sorsogon and wounding of student Jason Recto in 2004, killing of teacher Danilo Hagosojos of Casiguran, Sorsogon in 2006, killing of tricycle driver Ruben Ermino, of Gubat, Sorsogon on January 23, 2007, and on the same year, Raul Ferando, a market vendor of Prieto Diaz town, wounding by gunfire of Joshua and Budoy Ferreras of Sityo Cogon, Brgy. Tabi, Gubat, Sorsogon on April 15, 2012, and, on April 16, killing of bus washer Raul Vihiro of Gubat.”
The 2 Army soldiers fought back despite being wounded. During the firefight, civilian Salvador Estrada was wounded on the feet by stray bullets fired by the soldiers.
Hours after the firefight, another civilian, farmer Jovic Estrellado, was killed in the barangay, the latest victim of summary execution by military reinforcements, said the NPA statement. (BicolToday.com)
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