CLASH SITE. Three New People’s Army rebels were killed while two others were arrested after a 20-minute firefight between the communist group and government forces in Sorsogon City, Sorsogon on Wednesday (Aug. 17, 2022). Recovered from the encounter site were various firearms and subversive documents. (Photo courtesy of Sorsogon PPO)

LEGAZPI CITY – Three Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) members were killed while two others were arrested after a 20-minute firefight between the rebels and government forces in Sitio Pinaglabanan, Barangay Gatbo in Sorsogon City on Wednesday.

The anti-insurgency operation was conducted by the Sorsogon Police Provincial Office (SPPO) in coordination with the Philippine Army and elements of Sorsogon 1st Provincial Mobile Force Company, Provincial Intelligence Unit-Sorsogon Provincial Police, Prieto Diaz Municipal Police, Sorsogon City Police, Military Intelligence Company of Philippine Army, 31st Infantry Battalion and 903rd Brigade.

Maj. Malu Calubaquib, Police Regional Office-Bicol (PRO-5) spokesperson, said in a statement the gunbattle erupted when the government forces encountered an undetermined number of rebels in the area while conducting intelligence-driven operations.

"The firefight led to the death of three NPA members identified as Rene Ezperanzate Espano alias Anjo, Larangan 1 (L1), Komiteng Pamprobinsya 3 (KP3), team leader of Rebolusyonaryong Buwis sa Kaaway na Uri (RBKU), Jaime Fortadez alias Moy, vice commanding officer (VCO), L1, KP3 and Tony alias Amon. The two who were captured by the operatives were known as Janine Chavez and Leopoldo Laririt a.k.a. 'Ani'," Calubquib said.

Recovered from the encounter site were various firearms including two 5.56 Baby Armalite rifles, ammunition, personal belongings, medicines, radio, and voluminous subversive documents.

The SPPO said in its report, the operation was conducted in response to the complaints of residents regarding the extortion activities of a communist terrorist group in the hinterlands of Prieto Diaz town and Bacon District in Sorsogon City.

Brig. Gen. Rudolph Dimas, PRO-5 director, said the accomplishment is consistent with the peace and security framework of the new leadership of the Philippine National Police, particularly under the concept of “Kapayapaan at Kaayusan”.

The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines.

The National Democratic Front has been formally designated as a terrorist organization by the Anti-Terrorism Council on June 23, 2021, citing it as “an integral and inseparable part” of the CPP-NPA created in April 1973. (PNA)