Masbate village chief killed in military encounter with communists
ALBAY, Philippines – A village chief was killed in a clash between communist insurgents and government troops in Milagros, Masbate, at 6 am Wednesday, November 6.
Major Ricky Aguilar, spokesperson of the Philippine Army's 9th Infantry Division, identified the village chief as Wolfert Dalanon alias Ompong.
Aguilar said joint elements of the 2nd Infantry Battalion and the 2nd Masbate Provincial Mobile Force Company were conducting combat operations following reports of presence of communist insurgents in Barangay San Antonio when they encountered an undetermined number of rebels, including Dalanon.
The rebels were reportedly part of Komiteng Seksyon sa Platoon 1, Larangan 2, Komiteng Probinsya 4 of the Bicol Regional Party Committee.
Dalanon died on the spot, while a M16 rifle, a M653 rifle, carbine, and a laptop were recovered from the encounter site.
"It was learned that Dalanon, who is an active member of the communist terrorist group (CTG), had been supporting the terrorists' illegal activities and recruitment schemes," Aguilar said.
He added, "In fact, initial reports revealed that the terrorists were having their training in his barangay for several days now and today was supposed to be the graduation when the clash broke out."
Hot pursuit operation against the other rebels is ongoing, according to the military.
The military's Joint Task Force Bicolandia (JTFB) under Major General Fernando Trinidad, commanding general of the 9th Infantry Division, ordered government troops to tighten security measures in the area.
Trinidad reminded public officials to "uphold their oath of office and give their constituents an honest and untainted service."
He said supporting the CTG and joining their "useless cause will only result in bloodshed and endanger the innocent civilians."
The JTFB also urged the rebels to surrender, saying the Regional Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict is prepared to assist them in "reestablishing their lives outside the armed movement." – Rappler.com