ILOILO – Philippine Army troops captured three suspected New People’s Army (NPA) rebels in Barangay Mulangan, Igbaras town yesterday around 6 a.m. They also seized nine improvised explosive devices.
The following suspects were taken to the Igbaras police station: Ramon Elamparo alias Toto, 48; Roberto Elbao alias Nono, 50; and Ruperto Elamparo alias Bebot, 50.
The three, all residents of Barangay Mulangan, were believed to be part of NPA-Panay’s Southern Front Committee, said Lieutenant Colonel Sisenando Magbalot, commanding officer of the 61st Infantry Battalion (61IB).
“We received a report from the community about a group of 10 armed men in the house of the Elamparo family,” said Magbalot.
The rebels fired at the responding 61IB troops so the soldiers fired back.
The firefight lasted for some five minutes. The rebels withdrew to the mountains, said Magbalot.
“None of our soldiers were hurt,” he added.
Soldiers recovered from the house of Ruperto nine improvised explosive devices, 40 spent bullet shells of an M16 rifle and a holster, said Magbalot.
He also identified the rebel group’s leader as Joven ‘Ka Lex’ Ceralvo of the Southern Front Committee.
Magbalot said rebels were likely preparing for offensives to mark the NPA’s 50th anniversary this March 29.
The NPA is the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines./PN