By Connie Calipay

SLAIN REBEL. The body of a high-ranking leader of the New People’s Army (NPA) who was slain in a clash with government troops in Gubat, Sorsogon on Sunday (Jan. 14, 2024). The firefight that lasted for 25 minutes also resulted in the seizure of an M4 rifle, magazines and an improvised explosive device. (Photo courtesy of 9th Infantry Division)

LEGAZPI CITY – A high-ranking leader of the New People’s Army (NPA) died in a clash with government troops in Barangay Togawe, Gubat town in Sorsogon province over the weekend.

In an interview on Monday, Maj. Frank Roldan, 9th Infantry Division (9ID) spokesperson, identified the slain as Baltazar Hapa (alias Patrick), commanding officer of NPA’s Komiteng Larangang Guerilla 1, Sub-regional Committee 3.

“The encounter occurred Sunday evening, as the government forces conducted a hot pursuit operation related to an earlier clash in Barangay Sangat, Gubat, Sorsogon, which occurred on Sunday afternoon. The firefight from both sides lasted for 25 minutes, resulting in the death of Hapa and the seizure of an M4 rifle, magazines, and improvised explosive device,” Roldan said.

No casualties were recorded on the government side during the operation.

Roldan said Hapa was involved in various incidents in Sorsogon that disrupted the peace of the province and brought fear and apprehension to the people.

He added that a series of encounters were recorded on Sunday in different provinces in the region including Camarines Norte, where government troops recovered 29 anti-personnel mines and 800 live ammunition in Labo town.

Two members of the terrorist group both also belonging to the Larangang Guerilla 1, Sub-regional Committee 3 surrendered with their weapons which included a carbine, a KG9 submachinegun, a Browning automatic rifle, two improvised explosive devices, magazines and ammunition in Barangay San Isidro, Bulusan, Sorsogon. (PNA)