NPAs attack Sorsogon police station; 5 killed
By Rhaydz B. Barcia, Correspondent
LEGAZPI CITY: A coastguardsman and four communist guerrillas were killed when the rebels raided the police station in Matnog, Sorsogon, before dawn Saturday.
A report reaching Camp General Simeon Ola here identified the Coast Guard member as Penolio Malasarte. Two members of Traffic Management Group, Eduardo Malasarte and his nephew, Enrico Malasarte, were wounded in the raid.
Mayor Guillermo So of Matnog said in a radio interview that the New People’s Army rebels simultaneously attacked the Matnog police station and the Coast Guard detachment but were repulsed.
The report did not say how many rebels staged the raid.
Lt. Col. Florante Isles, spokesman for the Army’s 9th Infantry Division, told The Manila Times the rebels, probably coming from Samar, arrived on boats in the coastal villages of Mambahog, Manorabe and Sua, Matnog, and joined up with another NPA group.
The fierce battle lasted for 90 minutes.
Police Supt. Ely Bron, PNP regional spokesman, said the police suffered no casualties.
Some of the rebels withdrew to the sea in pump boats while others commandeered a bus from Metro Manila bound for Samar. Government forces caught up with the bus on Maharlika Highway, killing four of the rebels.
Three rifles and electrical wiring, apparently intended for use in bombs, were recovered by government forces.
On July 4 two police officers were killed in an ambush carried out by the NPA’s San Juan Theresa Command in Catanduanes.
Killed were Police Senior Insp. Alexander Diaz, commander of Police Provincial Traffic Mobile Group, and Police Officer 1 Joselito Tibo Jr. Wounded were Senior Police Officer 1 Rodel Lasvapie, Police Officers 1 Michael Romero, Ernesto Sandrino and Demetrio Panti Jr.
Sorsogon is one of three areas in Luzon where the military has launched a major offensive against communist rebels.
Brig. Gen. Arnulfo Ylanan, assistant division commander of the Army’s 9th Infantry Division, said the provinces of Albay and Sorsogon are NPA strongholds in Bicol.
He said the NPA’s Larangan Guerrilla Fronts 77 and 78 in Albay and Sorsogon are the strongest and most active among the 12 fronts operating in Bicol.
The 7,400-member NPA is one of the world’s oldest Maoist movements still waging a guerrilla war.
President Arroyo shelved talks with the group two years ago.