Published : Tuesday, December 06, 2011 00:00
Written by : Sonny Sales
CAMP Elias Angeles, Pili, Camarines Sur — The Army’s 9th Infantry Division based here commended the Army’s 31st Infantry Battalion after its nine-man team seized from New People’s Army rebels eight assorted high-powered firearms during an encounter in the coastal village of Poblacion Norte, Barcelona, Sorsogon, last week.
Last Saturday, 903rd IB commander Col. Felix Castro, who has operational jurisdiction in Sorsogon and Masbate, said the troops encountered the rebels along the coast of Barcelona town who were withdrawing by boat from Masbate after clashing with 9th IB troops.
Castro said “Oplan Bayanihan”, which involves concerted efforts of the police and local residents to give information on the presence of rebels, has been effectively working well.
It was reported that 31st IB commander Lt. Col. Teody Toribio had ordered the nine-man team, together with some police personnel, to check an abandoned white vessel in Bgy. Poblacion Norte. While checking the boat, Cpl. Jeffrey Balajadia reported that they recovered an M-1 Carbine rifle, a 12-gauge shotgun and assorted ammunition on the boat.
Balajadia also reported having noted markings on the vessel, MAS, 15.0002. BA, indicating the vessel was registered in Masbate.
Four hours later, while the troopers were on patrol half-a-kilometer away from the site, they encountered 10 NPA rebels, triggering a 15-minute firefight inside the thick mangrove trees.
The rebels reportedly fled, leaving six more high-powered firearms, five M-16 rifles, a Cal. 30, an M-1 Garand rifle, assorted ammunition and subversive documents.
According to Toribio, local informants have told the Army that armed men earlier disembarked in the said coastal village, prompting the Army and police units to investigate.