NPA commander, aide killed in North Cotabato clash
(philstar.com) - July 2, 2016 - 4:09pm

NORTH COTABATO, Philippines - Soldiers on Friday shot dead a senior commander of the New People’s Army (NPA) and his aide and recovered from them 22 roadside bombs they were to plant along thoroughfares in the province.

The slain NPAs, Gernal Gulmatico, most known as Commander Jepoy, and his companion, Rino Vinson, were felled one after another by Army snipers in a running firefight early Friday at the border of Barangays Basak and Balite in Magpet town in North Cotabato.

The encounter erupted when the rebels shot with assault rifles a team from the Army’s 39th Infantry Battalion (IB) and local militiamen dispatched to check their reported presence in the area.

Capt. Danny Tapang, spokesperson of the 39th IB, said the rebels scampered away when they ran out of ammunition, leaving their two dead companions behind.

He said they learned of the presence of Gulmatico and his men in a hinterland at the boundary of Barangays Basak and Balite from villagers.

Gulmatico is one of the senior officials of the NPA’s Front Committee 53, operating in the hinterlands of North Cotabato.

Tapang said local residents have long been complaining of the NPAs mulcting of money from farmers and their use of the two barangays as launching sites for their attacks on military and civilian targets.

The improvised explosive devices the soldiers found piled near the scene of Friday’s Army-NPA encounter were immediately collected by ordnance disposal experts.

Tapang said the soldiers who figured in the firefight had turned over the cadavers of the two dead NPAs to local officials in Magpet.

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