AROROY, Masbate -- The bodies of four rebel fatalities from an encounter in Bgy. Pangle, here, have been claimed by families and relatives at St. Lawrence Funeral Homes in Bgy. Jaboyoan, PO3 Rodel D. Deladia reported on Thursday.
Deladia said families of the slain communist rebels have positively identified the fatalities as Luis Cortes Gonzaga, alias, “Ka Jaypee”, 34, of Cawayan Interior, Masbate City; Marjun Hara Malachico, 20, San Antonio, Milagros town; Abnito del Rosario Tugbo, 22, alias “Ka Frank”, Canjonday, Baleno town; and Raymart Marcus Rapsing, 29, Igang, Masbate City.
The rebels were reportedly killed during a chance encounter with government troopers belonging to the Scout Platoon of the Army’s 2nd IB, 96th MICO and 22nd Infantry Battalion, led by 1Lt. April John S. del Rosario, during combat patrol at hinterland Bgy. Pangle, Aroroy town.
The Army’s 9th Infantry Division, which has jurisdiction over Army units in Bicol, reported that the incident was the first major encounter with CPP-NPA rebels in Bicol after President Duterte cancelled the government’s declared unilateral ceasefire with the rebels.
The Army had announced the recovery of a big cache of armaments and ammunition at the encounter site, consisting of two M-14 rifles, two M-16 rifles, an M203 grenade launcher, an improvised explosive device (IED), two bandoliers for M-16 ammunition with eight magazines, two bandoliers for M-14 ammunition with 16 magazines, bandolier for M203 with 11 grenade-ammunition, ICOM radio, detonating switch, wires, rifle grenade, hand-grenade and four backpacks.
It was also reported on Thursday that suspected communist rebels also harassed for about five minutes an Army patrol base of the Charlie Company, of the Army’s 22nd IB of the 9th ID, in remote Bgy. Cambalidio, Libmanan, Camarines Sur. No casualties were reported.