NPA rebel captured after clash in Camarines Sur

March 24, 2010 12:39 pm 

MANILA, March 24 — A New People's Army (NPA) rebel, who is managing the confiscated farm land of a former town mayor, was captured when Army soldiers clashed with communist insurgents in Lagonoy, Camarines Sur on Tuesday, a military officer said.

Quoting a report of 1st Lt. Dion Eliot, Major Harold M. Cabunoc, 9th Infantry Division spokesman said the 11-man team of the 42nd Infantry Battalion encountered about 20 members of NPA, led by Ka Philip and Ka Tonzip in Barangay Pinamigahan, Lagonoy, Camarines Sur at around 2:30 pm.

Two high-powered firearms were recovered, including a Cal 5.56mm M16A1 Rifle and Cal .30 M1 Carbine Rifle. A Cal .38 revolver was also confiscated from Jerry Candelaria, also known as Ka Marlon, 27, who peacefully surrendered after being cornered by the soldiers.

“My team was responding to an information provided by a villager that the communist rebels were extorting money from the area,” Eliot said. The soldiers spotted the bandit group who were occupying a hut in a secluded area in the barangay.

A 30-minute firefight ensued when the troops closed in on the NPA positions. One of the rebels was caught off-guard by the quick advance of the soldiers forcing him to surrender with his weapon.

Candelaria revealed that he was one of the “managers” of the 200-hectare coconut farm owned by the late Mayor Leoncio Gan of Goa which was confiscated by the CPP-NPA-NDF some years ago.

“The group of Ka Tonzip murdered Mayor Gan sometime in 2002. We took over the possession of his land located in three baranggays — Tabgon, Lamon and San Isidro West,” Candelaria, who fully cooperated with the military, he said during a phone interview.

When told about the Social Integration Program (SIP) of the government, Candelaria expressed willingness to help the Army in its ISO campaign in the Bicol Region. “I am happy to know that some of my former comrades will receive the cash benefits and livelihood assistance from the President herself,” he said.

Major General Ruperto Pabustan, commander of the 9th Infantry Division, lauded the soldiers for their new accomplishment. He has directed all soldiers to disseminate the SIP through radio programs and organized meetings to lure NPA rebels back to the folds of the law. (PNA)

DCT/FFC/VR

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