NPA Guerrillas Outmaneuver Army Troopers,
Inflict Heavy Casualties
down by Army troopers who were in ambush position, an undersized platoon of NPA
guerrillas seize the higher ground and kill 13 soldiers, including an
intelligence officer. The NPA victory in the June 30 Compostela Valley battle,
an NPA spokesperson said, is due to the guerrillas’ mastery of the terrain,
combat training and discipline, determination to fight and mass support.
Bulatlat.com Mindanao Bureau
CITY -- “The death of more
and more hound dogs of the fascist Macapagal-Arroyo regime is the net result of
its state terrorism.”
was how Rigoberto F. Sanchez, spokesperson of the New People’s Army (NPA) in
Southern Mindanao, summed up the recent NPA counter-offensive in Compostela
Valley province that claimed the lives of 13 soldiers from the 60th
Infantry Battalion, among them Lt. Peter James Angeles, the battalion’s
one-hour encounter took place shortly before noon on June 30, in village
Pagsabangan, New Bataan town. It started when, according to the NPA, an
undersized platoon of 36 guerrillas trekking a creek, were sprayed with bullets
by about 80 soldiers, who were positioning for an ambush.
guerillas, Sanchez said in a press statement, quickly maneuvered to gain higher
ground, thus inflicting heavy damage on the attacking government troops. None
from the NPA unit, the Ruperto Tuyac Command, was hurt.
also recovered 12 high-powered firearms: one grenade launcher, one baby Armalite,
seven M16 rifles and three M14 rifles, as well as vests, backpacks, a handset
radio and a set of binoculars.
the spokesperson of the NPA’s Merardo Arce Command operating in the Southern
Mindanao region, credited the Ruperto Tuyac Command’s success in turning into
their advantage a potentially fatal ambush to the guerrillas’ “determination
to fight,” “mass support” and mastery of the terrain.
encounter was yet another showcase of the NPA’s excellent discipline and
precise combat readiness and maneuver honed by training and actual experience in
tactical offensives,” Sanchez said in a statement sent to the Davao City media
a day after the incident.
said that when the tide was turned against the government troops, the latter
scampered away, leaving behind their dead.
those who were killed in action were PFCs Ronnie G. Mariano, Andresito N.
Nogodola, Remegio I. Recone, Hanover E. Manansala, Ronald Rendon, Arturo Casabar,
Roderick N. Faisan, Norphy Malabanan; Cpl. Ricardo T. Shahagun; CAAs Eddie
Villagonzalo, Guilermo D. Helardo and Antonio M.
Avila. Wounded were Cpl. Eric M. Milo; PFCs Victor B. Iglesias, Montanier
O. Planas, Daniel Debicais; and CAA Danilo Penaflor.
said the encounter was also a result of the government’s relentless
militarization of the countryside. “The NPA is the army of the people,
protecting the masses from the fascists who are roaming the countryside to wreak
havoc and terrorize the people,” he said. Human-rights groups have seen an
increasing trend of human-rights abuses in the Southern Mindanao region
allegedly committed by soldiers against civilians and suspected NPA members.
NPA spokesperson said that “AFP units and men will suffer terribly from the
hands of the Red fighters as the people’s war surges forward.”
than a year ago, the 60th IB lost 10 men and arms and ammunition from
the same NPA unit. The communist guerillas sustained no casualty.
that encounter, Sgt. Ramiro Lawas surrendered and was taken as a prisoner of
war. He was released in good health during a formal ceremony last June 11, 2003.
(See related articles: NPA
Releases POW After Long Captivity and
Says Being with the NPA Made Him Understand the Revolution)
raid in Samar
Compostela Valley encounter occurred a few days after the NPA in Samar raided a
military camp, where more than 12 soldiers were killed. Elsewhere in the country
that same week, the NPA fighters also launched offensive actions.
Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo then ordered “optimum military, political and
diplomatic counterattacks.” She directed the Cabinet Oversight committee on
Internal Security to “determine the optimum deployment of military and
civilian resources to meet the many-sided threat.” She reiterated that she
wanted the Communist Party of the Philippines to account for the
“terroristic” acts of the NPA.
president also said that the government should also target the Communists whom
she alleged are operating through legal fronts. She urged the armed forces “to
expose the web of deception spun by the communist movement with their allied
organizations in the democratic struggle.”
groups did not take Arroyo’s order sitting down. “This is a marching order
for the recycled witch-hunt operation aimed at the legitimate people’s
organizations in the open democratic mass movement,” said Dani Beltran, deputy
secretary-general of Karapatan, the human-rights alliance. “The president is
intensifying her red-scare tactics to give way to more calculated attacks
against those critical of her U.S.-backed and militarist administration.”
Secretary Angelo Reyes, on the other hand, promised to avenge the death of the
13 soldiers by wiping out the NPA. Reyes, who was recently named head of the
Task Force Diwalwal, promised to send more troops to the Southern Mindanao
quarters are concerned that the Pagsabangan encounter would be used by Reyes as
a pretext for the intensification of militarization in the area not so much to
run after the Communists but to strengthen his and the administration’s
control of the Diwalwal gold-rush site, which is reputed to have one of the
world’s largest gold deposits. Bulatlat.com
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