CAMP OLA, Albay – Three suspected members of the New People’s Army (NPA) were killed in a clash with government troops in Mandaon town, Masbate province, early morning on Monday.
Police Regional Office 5 (PRO-5) Spokesperson Major Malu Calubaquib said that joint elements of Regional Mobile Force (RMFB5), the Second Infantry Brigade (2IB), and other units of the Philippine National Police (PNP) encountered at least 20 NPA rebels, reportedly led by a certain Eddie or Arnold Roser, alias Star, in Barangay Alas in Mandaon town at around 5:13 a.m. Monday.
Calubaquib said that the troops were about to serve a warrant of arrest against Roel Vargas, Arnold Rosero and Jomar Tugbo for the crime of murder when the incident happened.
She said that the arresting troops were fired upon by the rebels that prompted them to retaliate.
According to Lt. Col. Dennis Cana, public information officer of the Southern Luzon Command (SOLCOM), the military and police traded shots with the Rosero-led armed group for about 15 minutes before the suspects were forced to flee.
After the firefight, the government troops were able to retrieve the bodies of the three unidentified NPA rebels.
No one was hurt on the side of the government forces, Cana said.
Recovered from the area were a garand rifle, a carbine rifle, two shotguns and a box containing assorted explosive components such as Pentex, dynamites, detonating cord, firing wires, time fuse, non-electric blasting cap, e-match and one constructed improvised explosive device (IED).
Calubaquib narrated that while Mandaon Municipal Police Station (MPS) was conducting a checkpoint as part of the pursuit operation for the escaping rebels, a certain Ronald Azucena was intercepted while carrying a caliber .22 gun with six pieces of ammunition.
“The PNP Bicol under the leadership of the Regional Director, Police Brigadier General Bartolome Bustamante in collaboration with its AFP counterparts, remains aggressive on the campaign to end local communist terrorist in the region. Thus, it shall continue its efforts amid the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic to realize its goals for a safer and more peaceful community,” Calubaquib said.