TWO suspected members of the New People’s Army (NPA) were killed in a joint military and police operation in Palapag, Northern Samar over the weekend.
The fatalities were identified as Zaldy “Podyot” Meraya, NPA finance officer; and Bebe “Kidlat’ Tobino, an aide of Meraya.
Police said combined forces from 3rd Maneuvering Platoon of 2nd Northern Samar Provincial Mobile Force Company and unit from 803rd Brigade conducted an operation and encountered about six NPA members led by Meraya in Barangay Bagacay, Palapag town on June 20, 2020.
The operation was launched as an offshoot to the encounter between the 20th Infantry Battalion and NPA in Sitio Cag-anibong, Barangay Bagacay on June 14, 2020, wherein pursuing troops led them toward the safe house of Meraya, the Army said in a statement.
Colonel Reynaldo Dela Cruz, director of Northern Samar Provincial Police Office, said Meraya has an existing warrant of arrest issued by Judge Decoroso Turla dated May 11, 2020 for the crime of multiple attempted murder.
The neutralization of Meraya “will lessen if not totally stop the extortion activities and resource generation” of the communist rebels in the Pacific towns, according to Colonel Lowell Tan, commander of the Army’s 803rd Infantry (Peacemaker) Brigade.
Also seized from the encounter site were two caliber .45 pistols, one laptop, 12 assorted cellular phones, three flash drives, and subversive documents.
Meanwhile, Dela Cruz urged the community “to continuously support the efforts of the government troops in suppressing such extortion activities of the communist rebels.”
Eastern Visayas, particularly the Samar Island, remains a hotbed of insurgency with the continued presence of NPA, which has been listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, United Kingdom, European Union, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand. (SunStar Philippines)