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8ID troops clash with NPA rebels anew, seized another high-powered firearm

May 29, 2014

CAMP LUKBAN, Catbalogan City, Samar – Troops under the 34th Infantry Battalion, 8th Infantry (Stormtroopers) Division clashed with New People’s Army rebels at around 10:32 a.m. on May 28, 2014 at Brgy. Osang, Catubig, Northern, Samar.

Based on the report of Lt. Col Rodrigo Illustrisimo, Commanding Officer of 34IB, his troops were conducting routine security operations at Brgy. Osang, Catubig, Northern Samar when they were fired upon by around fifteen (15) NPA rebels. Troops immediately fired back, prompting the rebels to flee after a 15-minute firefight. The encounter resulted to one (1) NPA rebel killed. The troops also recovered one (1) M14 rifle and two (2) M14 rifle magazines loaded with ammunition. Government troops did not incur any casualty during the said encounter.

Meanwhile, pursuing troops under 43IB also clashed with NPA rebels for 25 minutes on the same day at around 11:10 a.m. at Brgy. Mahayag, Matuguinao, Samar. There were no reported casualties on both sides during the encounter. It can be recalled that on May 26, 2014, the same unit encountered the same group of NPA rebels at same barangay where two (2) rebels were killed and three (3) high powered firearms were recovered. The second encounter was just 400 meters from the previous encounter.

According to Maj General Jet B. Velarmino, Commander of the 8th Infantry Division the series of encounters between the 8ID troops and NPAs is a sign that the mass base of the rebels is now dwindling. “It is now the people that pinpoint rebel hideouts which made it easier for our troops to track them down. We are now in a situation where rebels can run, but cannot hide.”

Further, he stressed that there is a considerable increase of surrender feelers from the NPA ranks. “We expect influx of surrenderees in the coming days and we assure assistance for those who wish to avail of the incentives and benefits intended for rebels from local and national government.”

"These are the reasons why, I am very optimistic that we can hand-over the internal security operation to the LGUs of Samar and Northern Samar by June and December 2014 respectively. I am elated with this development since this is what we have been working for and this is what we have planned and hoped to achieve," he added.