ILIGAN CITY – A New People’s Army (NPA) commander, who was reportedly abandoned by his comrades after he was wounded in an encounter with the military, and his wife were rescued by the Army’s 97th Infantry Battalion (97th IB) in So Kasong, Barangay Tinuyop in Leon B. Postigo, Zamboanga del Norte last Thursday, August 6.
According to 97th IB Commander Lt. Col. Manaros M. Boransing, the alleged commander of the NPA’s HQ Kalaw who bore the alias “Peewee” and his wife Ritchie, a member of the Regional Medical Staff, of the Western Mindanao Regional Party Committee (WMRPC), were rescued by government troops after a 15-minute firefight.
Peewee was said to have been wounded in that encounter, while Ritchie tended to him. They were left behind by their comrades, who went on a retreat after sensing that their forces were already being defeated by the government forces.
Boransing said a concerned civilian told his men about the plight of the couple, who had already signified their intention to surrender.
“(Peewee) was badly wounded during the clash that transpired around 8:00 in the morning. Troops provided him medical first aid, and brought him to our camp and eventually transferred him to the 1st Infantry Division Station Hospital for further medical attention,” Boransing added.
On Wednesday, another rebel, a certain Jekjek, was also rescued by the same troops after a clash in Barangay Midatag of same town.
Peewee admitted that they were with Jekjek on the day of the encounter.
“We were disorganized, that is why we left Jekjek behind”, said Peewee.
“We were also tired and hungry evading the troops. The successive encounter and my lingering shoulder injury led me to surrender,” he added.
Brigade, Brig. Gen. Leonel M. Nicolas, 102nd Infantry Brigade commander said that troops will continue to pursue NPA terrorists operating in the region.
“The NPAs in Zamboanga Peninsula will now have a leadership crisis after this incident and we will pressure and continuously encourage them to surrender” Nicolas said.