VIGAN CITY — New People’s Army in Northern Luzon suffered yet another setback after government troops killed a wanted leader during clashes on March 15 in a remote sitio of Kalinga province.
Rudy Daguitan, alias “Ka Pinpin”, alleged officer of the Kilusang Larangang Gerilya codenamed “Baggas” of the Ilocos-Cordllera Regional Committee of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) was killed by government troops during a brief gun-battle after soldiers overran a rebel encampment in sitio Babacong, barangay Gawaan, Balbalan town.
Daguitan, long been hunted by authorities, carries a P2.35M reward for his capture and is wanted for murder.
According to Philippine Army’s 5th Infantry Division commander Major General Lawrence Mina, Daguitan’s men fled leaving their dead leader behind.
An M16 rifle believed to be the slain rebel leader’s firearm was recovered by the operating troops.
An earlier encounter took place on March 14 where communist rebels reportedly suffered casualties and lost firearms after two separate armed confrontations in two remote barangays in Flora, in nearby Apayao province.
The first encounter occurred in the morning at Barangay Mallig when troops from the Philippine Army’s 17th Infantry Battalion chanced upon an undetermined number of communist terrorists ending up in a 15-minute gun battle.
Overpowered, the rebels withdrew leaving behind two M16 rifles and an improvised explosive device, Major General Mina said.
The second encounter broke out in the afternoon of the same day when troopers from the Scout Platoon of the Philippine Army’s 17th Infantry Battalion stumbled into communist rebels at barangay Upper Atok, also in Flora.
An M16 and an M653 rifle and various war materiel were seized after an intense firefight.
Mina claimed communist rebels suffered heavy death toll during the firefights taking cue from heavy blood stains along the rebels’ withdrawal routes, while no one from the government troops were hurt or killed.
Mina said their sustained momentum has kept communist rebels on the run. He added, “we will be unrelenting in our pursuit of peace and prosperity in this part of the country. We have been hitting them at all fronts and have kept them on the run, leaving them no other option but to lay down their arms and abandon their armed struggle.”
Lieutenant General Arnulfo Marcelo B Burgos Jr, Northern Luzon Command (Nolcom) commander claimed, “we have placed our enemies in a position where they have no safe place to hide. Therefore, we must sustain our efforts and continue to press on to totally eradicate their presence and influence, for our people deserves to enjoy peaceful and progressive lives in this part of our land.”
Last March 11, alleged NPA leader Rommel Tucay was killed while being served his warrant of arrest in barangay Kimbutan, Dupax Del Sur, Nueva Vizcaya.
Rommel Tucay allegedly fired even before a team of policemen and soldiers could formally hand him his warrant of arrest for various crimes, Lt. Col. Honorato Pascual Jr., commanding officer of the Philippine Army’s 84th Infantry Battalion said.
Tucay is known to authorities as the Secretary of the Komiteng Larangang Guerilya Sierra Madre (KLG-SM) who took the nom de guerre as “Isaac/Elmo/David/Steve/Abraham/Peter/Samuel/Moises/Alfred/Ed/Ben and Victor”.
He was charged with attempted homicide and multiple murder cases in Baler, Aurora.
Authorities seized a 9mm pistol, various cellular phones, tablets, handheld radios, flash drives and memory cards, books and pamphlets, fake identification cards, food items and personal belongings from Tucay.
Major General Alfredo Rosario Jr., commander of the Philippine Army’s 7th Infantry Division said, the resistance of the rebel leader only showed that he was truly a danger to the society.
“Tucay wasn’t repentant for his crimes, because if he was, he would have peacefully yielded,” the military official said. ●