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By Francis Allan L. Angelo

BLACK propaganda.

This was the reaction of the New People’s Army (NPA) as regards the claims of the Philippine Army that the rebel group is selling illegal drugs.

In a statement, Ka Ariston Remus of the NPA’s Napoleon Tumagtang Command (NTC) said the illegal drugs yarn is a ploy of the Army to cover up the failures of the 301st Infantry Brigade and 82nd Infantry Battalion in southern Iloilo.

Remus, whose area covers the Southern Front-Panay, said the Army suffered defeats in rebel hands during separate encounters in Igbaras and Tubungan last August 23, 26 and 28 and September 21.

The NPA spokesman said the rebels were unscathed in the said incursions while government troops suffered two deaths.

Also, the NPA said alleged rebels Joel and Rosemary Gabion are civilians residing in Brgy. Tigbanaba, Igbaras.

The Gabion couple allegedly led the Army to a suspected NPA camp in Igbaras where firearms, ammunitions and dried marijuana leaves were allegedly recovered.

Remus said the NPA abandoned the camp and they have no intention to defend to death the said base.

“The Army also spread black propaganda that dried marijuana leaves were found in the NPA camp. This is a big lie and it is clear in our history that anti-social activities and crimes are against NPA principles,” Remus said.

As regards the NPA’s use of land mines, which the Army branded as against international law and inhuman, Remus said they only use command-detonated landmines.

The NPA said the use of command detonated landmines is allowed under the Ottawa Treaty of 1997 which the Philippine government also signed.

“The NPA observes utmost discipline in using command-detonated explosives on actual targets. This is opposite to how the military uses bombs such as 105mm Howitzers which land on Tumandok communities at Brgy. Tacayan, Tapaz, Capiz last June 29,” he added.

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By Francis Allan L. Angelo

AN Ilonggo soldier is one of the casualties in an ambush in Sulu Monday.

Private First Class Jonel Lauresta, 29, a native of Brgy. Don Esteban, LaPaz, Iloilo City is one of the eight Philippine Marines who died in Indanan, Sulu after they were waylaid by suspected Abu Sayyaf fighters.

Lauresta was a member of Battalion Landing Team 4 that overran one of the extremists’ main strongholds last Sunday.

The Marines were leaving the newly-captured camp when they were ambushed by Abu Sayyaf members resulting in the deaths of eight troopers and five guerrillas.

Lauresta joined the AFP six years ago after graduating as an electronic and air-conditioning technician from Western Visayas College of Science and Technology.

Fourteen soldiers were wounded in two days of fighting including two forward air controllers who were with ground troops to direct the bomb attacks against the militants, AFP officers said.

Fighting had raged on Sunday between the military and as many as 200 Abu Sayyaf guerrillas, but the troops finally raised the Philippine flag over the mountainous area, said Maj. Gen. Benjamin Dolorfino, head of military forces in the south.

In August 16 four Ilonggo marines were also slain in Mindanao when they were  ambushed by the same bandit group.

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

FOUR of the 23 soldiers killed in the clash between government forces and the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) in Tipo-Tipo, Basilan province August 12, Wednesday were Ilonggos.

The casualties were Private Jomar Trompeta of San Dionisio, Iloilo; Corporal Rey Guasa of Brgy Lanjagan, Ajuy, Iloilo; Private First Class (PFC) Daryl Dave Turoy of Brgy Barroc, Tigbauan, Iloilo; and Sgt. Ramon Encila of Dapdap, Tigbauan.

The soldiers faced some 50 ASG members during a raid on the bandits’ main training camp in Silangkum and Baguindan villages in Tipo-Tipo.

The military claims its troops killed at least 30 bandits, including known leaders of the Abu Sayyaf group.

Encila’s family said he died on his birthday August 12 when he joined the Marines and Army contingent in Basilan.

Turoy’s relatives said the Marines member informed them that they were going on a mission in Tipo-Tipo. They later learned that he was one of the casualties in the encounter.

The 23 soldiers, most of them Marines, were given military honors Friday morning.

Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro led top military officials, including Armed Forces chief Gen. Victor Ibrado, in paying their last respects and salute to the fallen soldiers in Zamboanga City.

Teodoro assured the families left behind by the slain soldiers that they will be provided with up to P250,000 financial, education and livelihood assistance.

Lt. Col. Romeo Brawner Jr., military spokesman, said earlier the families of the slain soldiers will receive P100,000 each from the military.

Teodoro and the military officials also visited the injured soldiers at Camp Navarro General Hospital.

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

 

EIGHT Philippine Navy members cheated death after their twin-engine plane went on emergency landing Panay, Capiz yesterday due to mechanical problems.

Lt. Commander Ed Linpuna said they were forced to land on Roxas City after one of the two engines of their 10-seater Norman High Wing Navy Plane stopped running some 37 nautical miles from the airport. They were forced to land on a fishpond at Brgy. Agoho, Panay, damaging the plane’s left wing.

Linpuna said they left the Ebuen Airbase in Mactan, Cebu for Sangley Point in Cavite.

The other passengers of the plane were Capt. Antonio Indab, Lt. Sr. Grade Paul Hechanova, Lt. Sr. Grade Antonio Bosch, Lt. Sr. Grade Rodiart Babera, Lt. Sr. Grade Joseph Lauron, ATC Chris Buctil and ATC Vic Santoc.

All Navy members are in safe condition except for Babera who suffered a minor injury in the upper portion of his left eye. 

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