Top NPA leader, 6 others killed in Nueva Ecija encounter 

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By Jason de Asis

BALER, Aurora – The top leader of New People’s Army (NPA) Komiteng Rehiyong Gitnang Luzon-Komiteng Larangang Guerilla Sierra Madre (KLG-SM) in Aurora were killed in an armed encounter with members of the 84th Infantry (Victorious) Battalion (IB) Philippine Army in Barangay Malbang, Pantabangan, Nueva Ecija on Wednesday. 

703rd Infantry (Agila) Brigade commander, Brigadier General Joseph Norwin D. Pasamonte said in an interview on Thursday that the combat operations ensued after the soldiers of the 84IB conducted a hot pursuit following an aerial operation conducted in the hinterlands of Sitio Marikit East, Barangay Abuyo, Alfonso Castaneda, Nueva Vizcaya on June 20. 

He said the operating troops recovered three three M14 rifles, six M16 rifles, one M16 with M203 attached rifle, one low-powered firearm, subversive documents, and personal belongings in the encounter site. 

Pasamonte added that no casualty was recorded on the government troops while one of the NPA personalities identified as Hilario Guiuo alyas kumander Jr., alias Alde was one of those identified killed. 

Another top commander of the NPA was also killed. He was identified as Harold Minoza, alias Kumander Luzon of the dismantled KLG-SM of the NPA in Aurora province. 

Luzon is a resident of Barangay Ditumabo, San Luis, Aurora.

The five other casualties are yet to be identified. 

Pasamonte attributed the success of the operation to the active cooperation of the peace-loving community in Pantabangan who work hand-in-hand with the security sector to preserve the peace. 

“The community’s active cooperation has a big impact on the results of this operation. Their full support to the Army has paved the way to more significant peace and security accomplishments in our Area of Operations. We assure you of our strong commitment to the community in preserving the peace that we have been working on for years,” BGen. Pasamonte said. 

He then called on the members of the rebel group which is also being branded by the government as a Communist Terrorist Group (CTG) to surrender and grab the opportunities offered by the government to live a new life. 

“I am deeply saddened that our brother Filipinos died because of the trickery of the CTG. We can prevent further loss of lives if the remaining members would only join us in our mainstream society. Nandito kami handang ipagtanggol ang ating mga kababayang ang nais lamang ay kapayapaan at katiwasayan,” he added. 

Hot pursuit operations continue to clear the encounter site and ensure the safety of the community.

On the other hand, Lieutenant Colonel Jerald Reyes, Commanding Officer of 84IB said the hot pursuit operation was part of the unit’s efforts to immediately locate and run after the enemy after they spread fear among the people of Alfonso Castaneda. 

“Mayroon po tayong nakuhang pitong bangkay mula sa mga CTG at naka rekober po tayo ng sampung mga matataas na klase ng armas. Napigilan po natin ang kanilang planong maibalik ang kanilang impluwensiya sa kumonidad gamit ang pananakot. Actually, hinabol namin ang mga ito galing Aurora to Nueva Vizcaya ngayon dito sa Nueva Ecija. Kaya naman po lubos ang aming pasalamat sa mga tao sa kanilang suporta sa mga kasundaluhan. Tinitiyak din po namin ang kaligtasan ng mamamayan ng Nueva Ecija laban sa banta ng mga teroristang grupo,” Reyes said. 

Pasamonte said that the cadavers were brought in Stairway Funeral Parlor in Pantabangan, Nueva Ecija.

“Rest assured that the remains of the fallen NPAs will be treated with utmost respect,” he ended. 

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