MANILA,July 13 (PNA) — A soldier was killed along with a New People’s Army (NPA) bandit and a civilian during a clash at Sitio Carinay, Barangay Villa Ibaba, Atimonan, Quezon Sunday afternoon.
In the engagement that took place at 4:45 p.m., four troopers were also wounded, Southern Luzon Command spokesperson Major Angelo Guzman said.
He added that the firefight lasted for two hours and resulted in the death of Cpl. Michael S. Lubian and a still unidentified rebel.
Also killed in the encounter was a civilian identified as Herminio Pateno, a resident of Sitio Carinay, Barangay Villa Ibaba.
Wounded in action were Pfcs. Jeffrey C. Morales, Isabelo M. Pascua, Louie M. Tapiador and Ronel L. Diorda.
A NPA M-16 automatic rifle was also recovered.
According to 201st Infantry Brigade commander Col. Rhoderick Parayno, the encounter was the result of ongoing operations of the 85th Infantry Battalion.
“We launched the operations to counter the tactical offensives of the NPA who are desperate to recover lost mass bases,” he said.
Parayno said that the encounter happened in the vicinity of the proposed One Energy Power Plant in Atimonan town.
“Part of their recovery effort is to sow fear to the community and extort businessmen and big companies. We will not allow this to happen,” he stressed.
Two years ago, the Southern Luzon Command cleared Atimonan of NPA influence and one of SolCom head Lt. Gen. Ricardo R. Visaya’s marching orders to ground commanders is not to allow resurgence of NPAs in cleared areas.
“We will preserve our gains in the peace and security in Quezon. The recent encounters we had in the province are temporary as we are determined in realizing our shared goal of developing a culture of peace in the province,” he added.
Last July 8, three NPA rebels were killed in an encounter with the 85th Infantry Battalion in Mauban, Quezon. (PNA)