By Francis T. Wakefield
Security forces have captured 12 suspected to be New People’s Army (NPA) guerrillas on board a jeepney at a police checkpoint in Batangas the other day.
Brigadier General Arnulfo Marcelo B. Burgos Jr., commander of the 202nd Infantry Brigade (202nd IB), said yesterday that the 12 rebels were intercepted by local police at the checkpoint in Barangay Utod, Nasugbu, Batangas at 8:18 a.m. Monday.
Burgos supervises the operations of the 730th Combat Group of the Philippine Air Force (PAF) under Major Engelberto Nioda, which had encountered NPA rebels earlier that day in Batangas.
Investigators were still determining if the 12 suspected rebels intercepted at the checkpoint were among those who engaged the solders in battle.
“The said checkpoint was set up in order to prevent the armed terrorist from fleeing from the encounter site,” said Burgos, who said he believes they were among the same group in the earlier encounter.
Major General Rhoderick M. Parayno, the acting Commander of the AFP’s Southern Luzon Command, said that ongoing hot pursuit operations have fractured the large group of rebels who were involved in the said encounter.
“Civilian reports consistently revealed that the terrorists are still hiding within the vicinity of the encounter site,” Parayno said.
Meanwhile in Northern Luzon, Brig. Gen. Bartolome Bacarro, commander of the Philippine Army’s 502nd Infantry Brigade (502nd IB), denied accusations hurled by the human rights group Karapatan that two NPA members had been abducted by government troops in Isabela.
Bacarro said there is no truth to Karapatan’s accusation and stressed that the two NPA fighters – Roberto Dalupang alias “Junior,” of Barangay Simanu Norte, San Pablo town and one Oliver Molina, alias “Ado,” of Barangay Pag-Asa, Echague town – surrendered to them last November 13.
“The allegations by Karapatan are not true. The two surrendered to the 86th IB base on the report. The two also disprove the allegations,” Bacarro said.