Nolcom chief lauds civilians for capture of NPA camp
LACUB, Abra (13 April) -- Northern Luzon Commander(NOLCOM) Lt. General Bonifacio Ramos commended the joint army and police forces and lauded the civilian populace for the capture of the biggest NPA camp here last week.
The Army’s 41st Infantry Battalion was led LTC Raul Bautista while PSupt Willy Cayat led the Police Regional Office Cordillera(PRO-COR) Regional Mobile Group.
The capture of the NPA camp at the mountainous area of barangay Pacoc-talampac, a three hours hike passing through the river from Poblacion, Lacub, was an offshoot of information from civilians who are apparently fed up with the extortion activities of the NPA, said Col. Loreto G. Rirao, 503rd Brigade Commanding Officer in his report to Major General Rodrigo F. Maclang, Commanding Officer of 5ID and Cordillera Police Regional Director PCSupt. Raul Gonzales.
The camp is believed to be the base of the Abra Provincial Party Committee, Ilocos Cordillera Regional Committee of the CPP/NPA led by Jovencio Balweg.
Seized from the camp were an M16 rifle, one carbine, one bandoleer, ne infocus LCD projector, 7 claymore mines, 4 TNT explosives, one hand grenade, one television set, 7 hand-held radios, one dream satellite dish, a DVD player, three generator sets, one solar energy panel, assorted medical equipment and computer accessories, one sack of Bayan Muna and Anak Pawis campaign leaflets, communists flag, magazines and voluminous subversive documents.
Three days before the capture of the camp on April 2, elements of the RMG led by Inspector Tad-o encountered about 10 NPAs posted west of the camp where illegal mining was also managed by the group. A certain PO1 Teddy Cumahleng was killed in that encounter while two others were wounded.
Three NPAs were reported killed, based on information from civilians who reportedly were asked by the NPAs to carry their casualties out of Lacub.
While pursuing the communist guerillas, both the army and police forces discovered several illegal mining sites within an approximate 25 kilometer area surrounding the camp. Discovered were 29 makeshift nuts, 9 generator sets, two jungle packs, one solar energy panel, four ball mills, among others.
Latest reports indicated that while the troops were withdrawing after the clearing operations of the captured camp last April 6, they were ambushed by NPAs resulting to the death of two soldiers identied as Pfc. Eduardo Gayagoy Jr and Pvt. Michael Sabuaro, both of the 41st IB.
According to civilian reports, the communist guerrilas also suffered two fatalities and one wounded.
It could be recalled that in June 2005, a satellite NPA camp in Tubo, Abra was captured by elements of the 503rd Army Brigade. The captured camp in Lacub is believed to be where the NPAs reestablished to continue their nefarious activities.
Col. Rirao said the sustained civil military operation (CMO) and Police Community Relation(PCR) activities will continue in efforts to win back the hearts and minds of the people, and for peace to reign in the area. (11 CRU) [top]