NPA rebel killed, firearms seized in Northern Samar clash

By Sarwell Meniano

June 24, 2024, 4:49 pm

<p>The map shows the location of Catubig, Northern Samar, the site of the latest clash between rebels and soldiers. <em>(Google image)</em></p>

The map shows the location of Catubig, Northern Samar, the site of the latest clash between rebels and soldiers. (Google image)

TACLOBAN CITY – A member of the New People's Army (NPA) was killed in a clash with government forces on the outskirts of Hitapi-an village in Catubig, Northern Samar, late Sunday.

The slain rebel,  one of the five rebels engaged in a 15-minute firefight, was left by his comrades while fleeing from soldiers, the Philippine Army said in its report sent to the media on Monday.

The rebels belonged to the NPA's sub-regional guerilla unit of the front committee-15 operating in the province.

The unit is known for its involvement in intimidating, making grave threats, and extorting from the local populace and small businesses in Northern Samar communities.

This group was also responsible for the June 1, 2024 incident in Manering village, also in Catubig, where they tried to harass the Army's mobile community support and sustainment team, said Lt. Col. Richard Villaflor, Philippine Army's 20th Infantry Battalion commander.

He said soldiers seized two M16 rifles and an R4 rifle after the clash.

The clash occurred just days after the military deployed a team in the area, responding to reports from villagers regarding extortion of essential supplies from residents and farmers.

The military has coordinated with the barangay task force to end the local communist armed conflict and the municipality of Catubig to identify the dead rebels and facilitate a decent burial.

"In light of yet another unfortunate incident where another NPA member has lost his life, we extend a heartfelt plea to all remaining members of the communist terrorist group to surrender peacefully and return to your families. The government awaits you with open arms, ready to support your fresh start through the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program," Villaflor said in a statement.

He thanked the citizens and village officials of Hitapi-an for information on the locations and planned activities of the armed rebels.

Catubig, a 3rd class town in Northern Samar, is about 73 kilometers from Catarman, the provincial capital. (PNA)