6 suspected NPAs, one soldier killed in Luzon (PHILIPPINES)

LUCENA CITY : Six suspected communist insurgents and one Army soldier were killed over the past three days in a series of encounters in the Southern Tagalog and Bicol regions that also uncovered caches of explosives and extortion letters intended to be used against politicians seeking to campaign in the congressional and local elections in May, military spokespersons reported yesterday.


Five soldiers were also reported wounded in the gun battles between
government troops and New People's Army guerrillas in the vicinity of
Buenavista town in the Bondoc Peninsula and Pilar town, north of Legazpi
City on Saturday, and in remote areas of Sariaya town in Quezon province on

Lt. Col. Roderick Parayno of the military's Southern Luzon Command based in
Camp Nakar said they recovered several caches of explosives and ammunition
from the rebels in Buenavista town after a fierce battle that left one
unidentified NPA rebel and one soldier dead. Another soldier was wounded.

The names of the dead and wounded members of the 74th Infantry Battalion,
which encountered the Bondoc Peninsula rebels, were being withheld pending
notification of their respective families.

Further south, near Legazpi City, soldiers reported that they overran a
communist camp in the outskirts of Pilar town before dawn on Saturday,
killing five rebels. A military statement claimed five dead guerrillas were
seen being dragged away by their comrades as they fled to the hills.

Four soldiers were reported wounded in the encounter that led to the
recovery of Claymore mines, bags of ammonium nitrate used in making
explosives, hundreds of rounds of ammunition, food taken from nearby
communities, as well as extortion letters intended for politicians.

More explosives were recovered last Thursday during a raid on a rebel lair
near Sariaya town in Quezon Province.

Parayno said the cache consisted of six antipersonnel mines, three HBX-1
demolition blocks, one detonating cord and one firing mechanism.

Lt. Gen. Alexander Yano, Solcom chief, said the NPA's strongest front in the
Bondoc Peninsula, called Guerrilla Front #41, was "nearing collapse" after
three of its leaders were slain last year.

Solcom reported that a total of 171 suspected communist rebels in the
Southern Tagalog and Bicol regions had been "neutralized" -- 50 NPA rebels
killed; 76 captured and 45 surrendered to the military.

On the other hand, the military suffered 19 casualties and another 60
troopers wounded in 111 anti-insurgency operations last year.

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has renewed her instructions to defeat the
communist insurgency by 2010 when her term expires.

Von: 22.01.2007, Philippine Daily Inquirer by Delfin Mallari Jr.

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