Ex-Haiti peacekeeping team commander ambushed in Masbate

May 3, 2010 7:17 pm 

MANILA, May 3 -Suspected members of the local bandit group of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP)-Mew Peple's Army (NPA)-National Democratic Front (NDF)ambushed the KM 450 military truck carrying the commander of the newly deployed 85th Infantry Battalion.

Colonel Louie Dagoy, 85th IB Commander, said that he and nine of his security escorts were heading towards Masbate City to attend the surrender of firearms ceremony when they were ambushed in Bgy Gaid, Dimasalang, Masbate at around 5:30 a.m.

“More or less 5 armed men triggered the improvised explosive devices (IEDs) planted along the road as we were about to pass by. It was the element of luck which saved me and my soldiers”, Dagoy, the former UN Peacekeeping Force of Haiti said.

Dagoy said that it was the third ambuscade that he experienced in his military career.

“It is the fourth ambuscade with the use of IEDs here in Masbate. We suspect the PAGs members as the perpetrators but we don’t discount the possibility that the NPA is also behind this. They had claimed responsibility over the other 3 ambuscades against our soldiers and policemen assigned with the STF Masbate since January 2010,” said Dagoy.

Despite of the recent incident, 9th Infantry Division chief Major General Ruperto Pabustan expressed optimism about the positive developments in Masbate.

Less than a week after the ruling political clan spearheaded the surrender of firearms, another prominent politician turned over several firearms from his political supporters in Masbate province today.

Major Harold M. Cabunoc, Division spokesman, said that Congressman Narciso Bravo Jr, a Lakas-Kampi reelectionist Congressman of Masbate’s 1st District, surrendered 20 assorted firearms during a formal ceremony held at the STF Masbate Headquarters at around 9:00 a.m. today.

Col. Alvin Tiam Watt, AFP Task Force Masbate chief, said that Bravo handed-over a Cal 5.56mm Ultimax Squad Automatic Weapon, three Cal. 7.62mm US M14 Rifles, four Cal. 5.56mm US M16A1 Rifles, two Cal .30 US M1 Carbine, one 12-gauge shotgun, one Cal .45 Uzi Submachinegun, one Cal .45 Thompson Submachinegun and 7 Cal .38 Revolver.

“I own some of these firearms while the rest belongs to my political supporters. Some of them are collected through the help of the mayors,” said Bravo in his speech.

“I want to support the peace initiatives in the province, noting the efforts of both Congressman Antonio Kho and Governor Elisa Kho who are sincere in their drive to change the image of Masbate”, he said.

“I am glad that the various efforts of the Joint Special Task Force Masbate is now bearing fruit. The soldiers and policemen who compose the Task Force deserve to be commended for their untiring efforts,” Pabustan said.

Southern Luzon Command chief Lieutenant General Roland Detabali called on the other armed groups to follow the lead of the political leaders in Masbate.

Detabali has also cited the 85th IB soldiers for repulsing their attackers.

“I have personally commended Col. Dagoy for his professionalism and bravery. His excellent combat leadership shone during that particular ambuscade when he personally led the counterattack to push the rebels back,” said Detabali. (PNA) RMA/VR

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