NPA ransacks police station in Misamis Occidental

MANILA, Philippines – The New People's Army ransacked the Don Victoriano Chiongban police station in Misamis Occidental at 5 am Saturday, December 14, sparking a 25-minute exchange of fire with the Philippine Army (PA) an hour later.

According to Lt Col Rommel Almaria, commanding officer of the 55th Infantry Battalion which has jurisdiction over the area, the incident was a revenge attack by the "communist terrorists" for the death of one of its leaders during a similar clash last September.

The September encounter, which happened in the village of Gala in Tudela town of the same province, resulted in the death of NPA leader Henry "Jongjong" H. Celajes.

Celajas, said Almaria, was "responsible for the burning of numerous road engineering equipment and chicken farms" as well as "extortion activities in Misamis Occidental and Zambaonga del Sur in the past years."

The NPA attackers were clad in military uniform on Saturday, taking with them guns and ammunition. Among those carted away were: a caliber 60 machine gun, an M203 grenade launcher, 7 armalite rifles, 9 short fire arms, and numerous ammunition of different calibers.

The Army troopers who responded ambushed the get-away car at around 6 am. They knew that the rebels withdrew in the direction of the hinterland of Josefina town in Zamboanga del Sur using a white Revo.

The ambush occurred in the village of Bag-ong Tudela in Josefina, resulting in a gunfight. 

NPA members dispersed after the fire exchange and detonated a prepared land mine. No casualty was reported from either side.

In Zamboanga del Norte, operating troops from the 20th Special Forces Company under the 6th Special Forces Battalion were able to recover a Garand rifle, various ammunition, and subversive documents from the NPA.

The recovery came after a similar encounter between Army troopers and the NPA, also on Saturday. –