Army claims foiling NPA Labor Day attack in Batangas
LAGUNA, Philippines – The Philippine Army claimed thwarting a planned attack by the New People’s Army (NPA) in Batangas in time for the Labor Day celebration.
As of Tuesday, government soldiers were still pursuing a band of NPA rebels, who escaped following an encounter in San Juan, Batangas on Monday morning.
The firefight that happened at around 6:30 a.m. in Sitio Maquitib in Barangay Quipot lasted some 20 minutes. During the clash, a soldier was hurt and a female NPA fighter was captured, the military said.
Captain Patrick Jay Retumban, spokesperson of the Army’s 2nd Infantry Division, on Tuesday, refused to disclose the identity of the captured NPA fighter but disclosed that she is the wife of a certain Jethro, an NPA leader in Batangas.
“She is still undergoing debriefing,” Retumban said in a phone interview.
In a statement, Army officials said the rebels were planning to carry out an act of “atrocity in Batangas as part of the Left’s nationwide coordinated anti-government action” on May 1, based on intelligence gathered prior to Monday’s encounter, said 1st Infantry Battalion commander Lt. Col. Jonathan Manio.
The Army however did not disclose details on the alleged NPA attack or what is the target of the rebel attack.
Soldiers recovered an M653 carbine, a .45 caliber gun, and an improvised explosive device in the encounter site. Manio said additional forces were sent to San Juan to pursue the rebels.
Last week, 11 NPA fighters from Southern Luzon surrendered in Cavinti, Laguna. The government also awarded grants to 20 rebel returnees who surrendered to the military early this year.