By JOEY NACALABAN,
SHIELA MAE BUTLIG,
and ERWIN MASCARIÑAS
A NEW People’s Army rebel was killed in a fierce encounter between government troops and guerrilla forces in Malitbog, Bukidnon. On Monday, three days after the clash, a guerrilla surrendered to the military.
Senior Insp. Hubert Tirol, Malitbog police chief, said soldiers and rebels exchanged firepower at Sitio Victory, Barangay San Luis in Malitbog town on Friday.
By Monday, alleged rebel Anaclito Sagula Jr., 32, of Purok 1, Barangay Hagpa, Impasug-ong, Bukidnon, turned himself in, according to Camp Evangelista spokesperson Lt. Tere Ingente.
Authorities have yet to identify the slain rebel and Tirol said that the dead man was already given a decent burial.
Tirol said about a dozen soldiers from the 8th Infantry Battalion were patroling the area when they were attacked by rebels.
He said soldiers returned fire, killing one of the rebels and forcing the guerrilla group to withdraw.
The body was turned over to Juliano Lipanga, a sitio leader, who then arranged the burial.
Police said the rebels left behind an M16 rifle, a bandolier, an M16 magazine with 20 bullets.
Tirol said the rebels are believed to be members of the NPA’s Guerrilla Front Committee 4B under one Lino Namatidok a.k.a. Kumander Dahon.
Tirol said the rebels are believed to be with the same group that clashed with soldiers in in Mat-i, Claveria in Misamis Oriental.
An Army intelligence report, based on seized NPA documents, showed that Malitbog is an NPA target.
“Mao kana nga gabantay gyud mi diri pirmi. Gaampo gyud mi nga di mi itugyan sa kadaut aning mga tawhana,” said Tirol.
Lt. Ingente, meanwhile, said Sagula surrendered to soldiers at the 8th Infantry Batallion’s Sabangan Patrol Base at around 4:30 am Monday.
She said Sagula is the rebels who fought with the soldiers in San Luis, Malitbog on Friday.
Sagula also surrendered an AK47 rifle and three magazines loaded with 88 bullets.
Lt. Col. Ronald Illana, commander of the 8th Infantry Battalion, said Sagula would undergo psycho-social intervention and received other aid from the government, including financial assistance amounting to P15 thousand, livelihood assistance, and compensation for the surrendered firearm.
In another development, alleged NPA rebels were caught by 30th Infantry Battalion soldiers following an encounter in the town of Malimono, Surigao del Norte, over the weekend.
Capt. Al Anthony Pueblas identified those captured as Larry Vergara, 48, of Mainit, Surigao del Norte, and Felipe Daragoza, 47, of Agusan del Sur.
Pueblas said the rebels were caught while soldiers were conducting security and pursuit operations in Barangay Can-aga, Malimono, Surigao del Norte following a firefight with 15 armed rebels earlier that day.
Seized from them were two explosives, a radio charger, a pair of combat boots, a shotgun and P53 thousand in cash.
The 402nd Brigade said the military operation was conducted after the 30th Infantry Battlion received reports that candidates in the barangay elections were being required to secure permits to campaign by the NPA.
The operation resulted in a 20-minute gunbattle between troops and suspected members of the Guerrilla Front 16B of the NPA’s North Eastern Mindanao Regional Committee operating in Surigao del Norte.
Soldiers found in the encounter site an M16 rifle, six explosives, 10 backpacks, a grenade, ammunition for AK-47 and M16 rifles, seven hammocks, a Yaesu Icom radio, a sack of rice, medical supplies and documents.
Ka Oto, an NPA spokesperson, said the encounter took place but denied that soldiers captured guerrillas.
“We deny that the two captured individuals are members of the NPA. As to the encampment, yes, it was one of ours,” Oto said.
He said one of those “caught” was a civilian from Mainit with a mental disorder.