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Troops gun down 5 NPA rebels in Rizal firefight

A JOINT Philippine National Police-Armed Forces counter-insurgency operation in Baras, Rizal early morning Thursday resulted in a gunbattle which left five suspected New People’s Army rebels, said to be collecting ‘revolutionary taxes’ from Calabarzon businessmen. dead, PNP chief, General Debold M. Sinas announced yesterday.

“We have neutralized a group of NPA rebels collecting revolutionary taxes from businessmen, private contractors and even illegal gambling lords in Calabarzon region,” said Sinas in a report to Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo M. Año.

The PNP chief earlier ordered massive operation to account for rebel personalities who are the subject of pending warrants of arrest as part of their effort to prevent the guerrilla movement from continuing their massive extortion activities in the country.

“This is part of our ongoing effort to stop the NPA movement from continuing their effort to generate resources from different targets and also in relation to our role in the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict,” said Sinas.

Police Regional Office 4-A (PRO4-A) director, Brigadier Gen. Felipe R. Natividad, said the fighting erupted as members of the PRO4-A Regional Mobile Force Battalion, PRO4-A Regional Intelligence Division/Regional Special Operations Unit, Rizal Police Provincial Office, Army’s 80th Infantry Battalion and the Army’s 202nd Brigade raided a suspected NPA safehouse in Sitio Malalim, Bgy. San Juan, Baras at 2:30 a.m. Thursday.

Natividad said that during the raid, the occupants of the house, two of them identified only as ‘Ka Sandra/Minda’ and a ‘Ka Onli/Rusi/Ustad exchanged fire with the security troops.

“Our operatives were forced to retaliate, killing the five suspects on the spot while other gunmen managed to flee on foot towards different directions and are still being hunted as of press time,” said the Calabarzon police director.

The slain suspect, identified as ‘Ka Sandra/Minda’, was described as the wife of one ‘Ka Luis’ of the NPA’s Guerrilla Front Cesar and acting as a medical officer of the rebel unit in Southern Tagalog. On the other hand, ‘Ka Onli/Rusi/Ustad’ was described as an NPA intelligence officer in Region 4-A.

The identities of the three other slain suspects are still being verified as of press time.

Natividad said the joint law enforcement operation targeted one ‘Ka Dads’ who was identified as an NPA finance staff officer and executive committee member of the CPP/NPA’s Southern Tagalog Regional Party Committee.