By Reynard Magtoto
CASIGURAN, SORSOGON—On the day of the funeral of two of their fallen comrades, the Celso Minguez Command of the New People’s Army (NPA) successfully ambushed a patrolling unit of the Philippine Army Monday, killing four soldiers and wounding seven government troopers in neighboring Gubat town.
As thousands of family members and supporters were preparing for the five-kilometer funeral march for Andres “Ka Magno” Hubilla and Miguel “Ka Billy” Himor in Barangay Sta. Cruz in Casiguran town, they heard gunshots despite the music of progressive songs coming out in the sound system.
The Red fighters waylaid a unit of the Philippine Army using a command-detonated explosive in the morning in Barangay Casili, Gubat that lasted 54 minutes. Celso Minguez Command spokesperson Ka Samuel Guerrero said they successfully ambushed a platoon of the 31st Infantry Battallion of the Philippine Army and the 5th Regional Public Safety Battalion of the Philippine National Police based in Gubat town in Barangay Marinas at 5:25 in the morning Monday.
Guerrero claimed they killed four soldiers, including platoon leader 2Lt. Lee Omega Tremedal, Sgt. Rolyn Cabagon, Pfc. Jaype Nebiar and another he failed to identify. He also named five of the injured 31st IBPA troopers, including Michael Lionar, Jeremy Tu, Roland Sayson, Eduard Lumanog and Mark Oscillada.
Guerrero said their Red fighters took three M4 carbine rifles, ammunition pouches, military packs and radio equipment from the waylaid soldiers.
Meanwhile, Maj. Virgilio Perez, spokesperson of the Southern Luzon Command of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) yesterday said only two soldiers were killed and seven were wounded in yesterday’s clash.
Sources said the five injured troopers were rushed to Sorsogon Doctors Hospital but reporters were prevented from entering the facility.
Perez declined to name the casualties pending formal AFP notification of their families.
In a statement today, the provincial NPA unit also said their fallen Communist Party of the Philippines Sorsogon Party Committee Secretary helped in the painstaking planning of the ambush days before he was killed because of many human rights violations reportedly committed by the state troopers.
“The successful tactical offensive was inspired by the great life of the two revolutionary martyrs (Hubilla and Himor), along with Ka Magno, who had been part of a persistent planning and study of the situation to access the ambush,” Guerrero said.
According to Guerrero, the successful tactical offensive proved the courage and stability of its NPA comrades. They wisely studied the enemy’s actions and abled to maximized their vulnerability. “Ang maging sobrang kampante at mayabang ang bulnerabilidad ng kaaway na nasamantala ng mga kasama,” he added.
Residents of several Casiguran barangays had been wary of increased military presence in the area since the killing of Hubilla, fellow NPA member Miguel “Ka Billy” Himor and civilians Arnel Borres and Dick Laura in Barangay Trece Martires last July 28.
Hubilla and Himor’s wakes were held in neighboring Barangay Sta. Cruz, a few kilometers from the ambush site. The 31st IBPA was the unit involved in what locals say was the “Casiguran Massacre.”
Another civilian was killed yesterday after the AFP troops reverses the civilian population after they have been ambushed based on report.
Peasant Jaime Estrada was killed on August 7, at 9 pm. They entered the victim’s house, picked him out and has been shot. The victim’s house is close to the scene of the ambush.
According to NPA-CMC, Estrada has no connection with the New People’s Army and Sorsoganons must only exposed to the true face of the enemy troops as executioners and fascists in every civilian victimized by their fury.
On the other hand, thousands of townsfolk lined in the streets as the funeral made its way to the cemetery, seemingly amazed at the banners of underground organizations being openly displayed. Hubilla and Himor were buried at a private memorial park in downtown Casiguran after a long march led by red banners and streamers.
The caskets were borne on top of a flat-bed truck with honor guards standing on both sides as the march snaked around the town. Activists and supporters from all over Sorsogon and other Bicol provinces joined the march, making the funeral the biggest seen by this town in decades. (BaretangBikolnon.com)