2 NPA leaders, one soldier killed in Lupon encounter

A team leader and a vice team leader of the New People’s Army (NPA) were killed in a clash with of soldiers from the 28th Infantry Battalion in Sitio Sigang Barangay Maragatas, Lupon, Davao Oriental at 5:10 a.m. yesterday.

Meanwhile, one soldier was also killed and four others wounded during the same encounter.

The dead soldier was identified as Pvt. Joemarie Timothy Estrella. The wounded soldiers, meanwhile, were Pfc. Jobel Gallana Abascar, Pfc. Armand Teclera Polistico, Pvt. Richard Petere Jr, and CAA Ranel Maniques.

The NPAs killed were alias Taniel, team leader of Baking, Segunda, and alias Dagol, vice team leader of Element Abe, both from Section committee 18.

According to Lt. Col Miguel Ramon, the commander of the 28th Infantry Battalion, the soldiers were conducting a routine security patrol after receiving information about the presence of NPAs in the area three days ago.

“They chance upon the armed group then a firefight ensued,” Ramon said.

In a report relayed by Chief Insp. Milgrace Driz, the spokesperson of Police Regional Office XI, the firefight lasted for about 20 minutes after one section of the Charlie Company of the 28th IB encountered an undetermined number of guerrillas.

The battalion commander said the soldiers encountered members of the Section Committee 18 and Pulang Bagani Company (PBC) 6 of the NPA.

Ramon said the soldiers were able also to recover two M16 rifles; one M203 grenade launcher; and one improvised explosive device (IED).

He said it was the fifth clash where his battalion was involved since April this year.

“But in the past month there were no presence in the area as they were moved houses in Compostela Valley,” he added.

“We are saddened by the loss of one soldier but this is the price we pay to fulfill our sworn duty to liberate the community from terrorist fear,” he added.

He said the wounded soldiers were brought to the Camp Panacan station hospital but were transferred to a bigger hospital where they are recuperating.

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