BATO, Camarines Sur -- As President Rodrigo Duterte visited the wake of three policemen killed in an ambush at the Bicol Natural Park in Napoligan, Lupi, troops from the Bravo Company, Army 83rd Infantry Battalion encountered anew communist rebels in hinterland Bgy. Manga, here, the Army’s 9th Infantry Division (ID) based in Pili town reported on Wednesday.
Army 9th ID spokesperson Capt. Joash Pramis identified the fatality as 2nd Lt. Jason Frederick R. Pasko and the wounded comrade as Pfc. Reynaldo A. Aquino Jr., who was rushed to Sta. Maria Josefa Foundation Hospital in Iriga City.
Maj. Gen. Jesus Ma-nanquil Jr., commander of 9th ID based at Camp Elias Angeles, Tinangis, Pili, revealed that the recent encounter with local communist rebels was a result of a military operation to neutralize frequent rebel presence in the villages reportedly collecting revolutionary taxes from local business establishments.
Mananquil said monthly tax collection of the rebels from local businessmen amounted to a minimum of P10,000. Local sources said (New People’s Army (NPA) rebels have started to collect “permit-to-campaign” and “permit-to-win” fees from local politicians entering far-flung villages in this town.
He said it is only recently that NPA rebels have stepped-up their presence in CamSur after over a year of dwindled rebel activity.
Meanwhile, President Duterte gave P250,000 in checks and P20,000 in cash to each of the families of the slain policemen.
The President also gave P100,000 in checks and P10,000 in cash to each of the four wounded police officers who are still recuperating at Mother Seton Hospital in Naga City.
The President also awarded the dead police officers with the “Order of Lapu-Lapu” and the “Rank of Kalasag” for having died in the line of duty. Similarly, four soldiers from the 9th ID were also awarded the “Order of Lapu-Lapu” and the “Rank of Kampilan” for bravery during a battle against NPA rebels in Bgy. Dumagmang, Labo, CamNorte, last Oct. 14.