By Marie Tonette Marticio
TACLOBAN City – Two members of the New People’s Army (NPA) were killed in a clash with military and police operatives in Barangay Bagacay, Palapag, Northern Samar on Saturday, June 20.
The fatalities were identified as Zaldy Meraya, alias Podyot and Bato, believed to be a finance officer of Squad 1, Front Committee (FC) 15, Sub-Regional Committee (SRC) Arctic, and his aide Bebe Tobino, alias Kidlat and Lawin, a member of Squad 1, Sandatahang Unit Pampropaganda (SYP) Platoon, FC15, SRC Arctic.
Information disclosed that while the government troops were on patrol and were approaching Barangay Bagacay when they encountered about six armed rebels led by Meraya.
A brief gun battle ensued at around 3:10 a.m. as the operatives were about to serve a warrant on Meraya for charges of multiple attempted murder. Authorities also seized two caliber .45 pistols.
The law enforcement operation was also launched as an offshoot of an encounter between 20 soldiers and the NPA in the vicinity of Sitio Cag-anibong of the same barangay six days before, wherein combat tracking was conducted by the pursuing troops that led them to the safe house of the accused.
Northern Samar Police Provincial Director Col. Reynaldo Dela Cruz lauded the determination and bravery of the troops that resulted in the successful operation against the NPA, which has continuously disturbed the lives of the poor families in the province.
“I urge the local communities to continue supporting the government’s endeavors to suppress all forms of terrorism in order to maintain peace in the province of Northern Samar,” Dela Cruz said.