|Entrance to Ucaon, Candelaria, Zambales.|
Monday, August 22, 2011
2 soldiers wounded, 1 civilian died in Zambales clash with rebels
CANDELARIA, Zambales, August 23, 2011-Northern Luzon Command (NOLCOM) spokesperson Captain Jovily Carmel Cabading revealed that two (2) soldiers were wounded, one civilian was fatally hit and undetermined casualties among the rebels in an armed encounter before the dawn yesterday Monday at Sitio Biew, Barangay Taposo, Candelaria, Zambales.
In a telephone interview, Cabading identified the two (2) soldiers who were hit in a gun battle around 4:20 in the morning as Private First Class Antonio Alvarez and Private First Class Oliver Limbag while a courageous civilian volunteer - Christopher Bonustro was killed in action during the crossfire.
She said that the government troops encountered more or less ten member of the “Pinagsanib na Sangay ng Partido (STP) sa platoon Tarlac-Zambales” under the leadership of a certain Evelyn Munoz, Alias Ka Ched, a native of Pangasinan operating in the place.
“The rebel strategy now is migrating in an insurgency province to show proof of their strength. The rebels are only few, they combined themselves as a group more or less ten from different places then they will conduct atrocities, just like what happened in Aurora province,” Cabading said. She added that the rebels would like to trick the people to believe that they are of strong hold.
“Small groups of New People's Army (NPA) from different places gathered in an identified area then did their plan and extorting the people and other kinds of life threatening so that people would give revolutionary tax and other collectible items,” she said.
Cabading said that Major General Jessie Dellosa, the NOLCOM Chief, wanted the civilian’s heroic deed to be given due recognition by proper authorities because he sacrificed his life in line of duty to ensure the safety and security of the Zambaleños.
“He did not die in vain. It is a fact that the residents themselves tipped off the NPA’s presence to government forces which meant they condemned their presence in Zambales,” Dellosa said.
Government troops recovered the following items from the site of the encounter: one (1) M14, one (1) M16, bandoleers with ammunition, documents with high intelligence value and personal belongings.
The 24th Infantry Battalion army Chief LTC Michael G. Samson also revealed that there are NPA casualties according to the information from the residents and the bloodstains in the NPA withdrawal route are indicators of these.
Samson revealed that prior to the encounter, a civilian tipped-off enabled government troops to catch up with a group of local rebels conducting extortion activities in the said area that led to the clash.
As of this report, a hot pursuit and blocking operations are being conducted by troops of 24th Infantry Battalion versus the rebels. (Jason de Asis)
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