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Army officer killed in encounter with NPA rebels in Mindoro

Mike Nollora

Mike Nollora. PHOTO from AFP Southern Luzon Command

LUCENA CITY – A young Philippine Army officer, a graduate of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA), was killed in a clash with New People’s Army rebels in San Jose, Occidental Mindoro on Sunday, the Armed Forces of the Philippines Southern Luzon Command (Solcom) reported on Monday.

Maj. Angelo Guzman, spokesperson of Solcom, based in Camp Nakar here, identified the slain soldier as Lt. Mike Nollora, commander of Company B of the Philippine Army’s 4th Infantry Battalion based in Occidental Mindoro.

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Nollora, 28, belongs to PMA class 2009, according to Lt. Col. Randolf Cabangbang, spokesman of the Army’s 2nd Infantry Division.

The slain officer was married and had two young children and hailed from Panabo City, Davao del Norte, he said.

Guzman said the slain Army officer was leading his men in a security patrol when the soldiers encountered the group of rebels.

Guzman said Nollora sustained severe gunshot wounds on his left thigh while his troops were engaged in a fierce fight with a group of about ten rebels sometime around 9:30 a.m. in the remote village of Batasan in San Jose town.

Nollora was given first aid but died one and half hour later.

“He was extricated from the battle site but he did not make it before the arrival of the helicopter that would take him to the nearest hospital,” Guzman said.

His body was airlifted to the Army’s general headquarters in Fort Bonifacio in Taguig City and was later brought to the mortuary of the Libingan ng mga Bayani, said Cabangbang.

Solcom commander Lieutenant General Ricardo Visaya, in a statement, paid tribute to the bravery of the slain Army officer.

“It is saddening that we lost a young commander and good officer while serving and protecting the people of Occidental Mindoro,” Visaya said.

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Visaya vowed to continue staging military operations in Occidental Mindoro to bring peace to the island.

It was only on Oct. 8 when the other half of Mindoro Island, the province of Oriental Mindoro, was declared by the military and local officials as “Conflict Manageable and Ready for Further Development” (CMRFD) due to dwindling number of communist rebels operating in the area.

Guzman has then said there were only 36 armed guerillas now left operating, mostly in Occidental Mindoro, due to the continuous police and military operations.

On Oct. 14, five suspected NPA rebels believed to be from Mindoro were killed in an encounter with government troopers in Nasugbo, Batangas.

The slain rebels were believed to be part of a guerilla unit from the island that had moved to Batangas in preparation for the collection of the so-called “permit to campaign” fee from local candidates in the 2016 elections.

Three days later, the NPA retaliated and killed two soldiers in an ambush in Calaca town, also in Batangas province.

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