5 Cafgu members slain, 3 Army troops hurt in clash with NPA in Quezon
LUCENA CITY (Updated) — At least five members of the Civilian Armed Force Geographical Unit (Cafgu) were killed and three Army soldiers wounded in an ambush on Friday, Sept. 1, by suspected communist New People’s Army (NPA) rebels in Tagkawayan town in Quezon province.
Army Colonel Dennis Cana, Armed Forces Southern Luzon Command public information officer, reported that five Cafgu members were confirmed dead, while three soldiers from the Army’s 85th Infantry Battalion were wounded in the NPA attack in Barangay Mapulot.
“We are giving our salute to these brave Filipinos who willingly gave their lives in the service of our country. They died protecting the community,” said Cana in a statement.
Colonel Ledon Monte, Quezon police chief, said the team of Army soldiers and Cafgu members who were stationed in Sitio (sub-village) Pagasa in Mapulot were ambushed at 11:05 a.m.
Monte said the government forces were about to conduct their routine patrol on the boundary of Quezon and Labo, Camarines Norte when one of the militiamen stepped on an explosive device set up by the NPA rebels.
“It was a direct hit. There were casualties,” Monte said in a phone interview.
Monte said the Cafgu detachment was located near the boundary of Quezon and Camarines Norte. “The area was being operated by NPA terrorists based in the Bicol region and not in Quezon,” he explained.
The AFP is still determining if there are casualties on the rebel’s side, according to Cana. He added that these rebels may have come from the nearby province.
“These CT [communist terrorists] who may have come from the nearby province, may have thought that they still have their old haven in Barangay Mapulot, an area historically the ground of the famous NPA Ka Roger,” Cana said.
“However, information from the populace revealed the presence of the CT in the hinterlands, which our government troops acted upon,” he added. “Quezon province had declared being insurgency-free, and the people wanted to make it stay that way.”
Established on March 29, 1969, the NPA had 25,000 members at its height around 1987, according to Philippine military estimates.