Alleged NPA top leader killed in Laguna— military

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 8) — An alleged New People’s Army commander was killed in an encounter with combined Armed Forces and police troops in Kalayaan, Laguna, authorities reported on Saturday.

Lt. Col. Jesus Diocton, commanding officer of the first Infantry Battalion, identified the alleged NPA leader who was killed in encounter Friday as Mario Caraig alias “Jethro.” Diocton said that this was the second encounter in the area in three days.

The Armed Forces stated in a statement that Caraig was the secretary of NPA’s Southern Tagalog Regional Party Committee’s SRMA 4C.

According to military reports, the AFP-PNP forces encountered the rebels at around 11:10 p.m. on Friday in Sitio Boho of Barangay San Antonio, and recovered one Cal .45 pistol, and two hand grenades.

“Concerned citizens tipped us about the presence of the armed group who were coercing the people to feed and hide them as they try to avoid the government’s security forces who were closing in on them," said Diocton.

Brigadier General Alex Rillera, commander of 202nd Infantry Brigade, confirmed that there is no casualty on the part of their troops.

“The fall of Jethro is a welcome development to the ranks of the IPs because it meant one less terrorist whose primary role is to torment and exploit their fundamental rights,” said Rillera.

Joint AFP and PNP checkpoints have now been established in the area for ongoing pursuit operations against the remaining NPA troops, and all available military assets have been placed on high alert.

Meanwhile, one NPA squad leader and three more rebels reportedly surrendered to the military’s 102nd Infantry Brigade units in Zamboanga del Norte on Friday.

They were identified as alias Marky, Aiai, Jury, and Jerwin.