Castilla, SORSOGON – Two top ranking leaders of the New Peoples Amy (NPA) and two regular members were captured in an encounter between the military and the armed component of the Communist Party of Philippines (CPP) in Sorsogon about 6:15 a.m. today.
The clash occurred when combined troops of 8th Special Forces Company, 3rd Special Forces Battalion, Special Forces Regiment, Special Operations Command, Philippine Army; 903rd Infantry Brigade, 31st Infantry Battalion, Naval Special Operation Group (NAVSOG) of Naval Forces Southern Luzon Command (NAVFORSOL) and Sorsogon Police Provincial Office (PPO) on combat operations encountered at least thirty members of NPA from Larangan 1, Komiteng Probinsyal (Komprob) Sorsogon and Bicol Regional Party Committee (BRPC) at Sitio Batan, Brgy Sablayan, Juban, Sorsogon.
The captured NPA leaders who were cornered in the 10 minute firefight were identified as Elias Florentino Pura also known in the underground movement as Soling/Pat, Secretary of Larangan 1, Komprob Sorsogon and also the Head of Rebolusyunaryong Buwis galing sa Kilusang Uri (RBKU), BRPC and a certain alias INO, Finance Secretary, RBKU, Komprob Sorsogon. The latter was also wounded during the encounter. The other captured NPA members are Rodrigo C. Lasar and William D. Doroja. The army troops were also able to recover one M653 rifle (baby armalite), one Caliber .45 Pistol, two improvised explosive devices, one hand grenade, one laptop computer and backpacks containing personal belongings in the encounter site. The three captured NPA members were turned over to Sorsogon PPO for documentation and proper disposition while the wounded was brought to Sorsogon Provincial Hospital for medical treatment.
Meanwhile, army troops from 92nd Division Reconnaissance Company led by 1st Lieutenant Mark Magora also figured in an encounter with 15 communist insurgents at Brgy Jangan, Balud, Masbate about 6:10 a.m. today. After the 30 minute firefight the government troops recovered two M16 rifles, one carbine, two bandooleers with assorted magazines, four cellular phones and three jungle packs in the encounter site.
Colonel Joselito E. Kakilala, Commander of the 903rd Infantry Brigade said that the relentless combat operations being jointly conducted by the military and PNP in Sorsogon Province against the armed members of the communist insurgents is part of the military’s continuous efforts to preempt any atrocities that the armed insurgents are planning to conduct in line with the NPA’s 45th Founding Anniversary on March 29, 2014.
Major General Yerson E. Depayso, Commander of the 9th Infantry Division, Philippine Army in a statement said that the success of the combat operation was primarily due to the strong partnership established between the civilian, the government, the general public and the military. “This partnership gives the government the advantage over the insurgents that losing their support for sustenance from the masses. It will ensure the success of the continuous security operations that the military will undertake to ensure the safety of the people in the Bicol Region”, Major General Depayso added.
The government troops suffered no casualty in both encounters while the enemy suffered undetermined number of casualties as evident in the traces of bloods along their route of withdrawal. Pursuit operations are currently being conducted by government troops against fleeing rebels.