Against the continuing rampage of the fascist troops of the US-Duterte regime to annihilate the NPA and its mass base in the Zamboangas, the people’s army actively fought back, boldly held their ground using tactics of highly mobile guerilla warfare. The NPA garnered victories in the last six months of 2018 by inflicting stinging blows against the attacking enemy forces and incorrigible local spies. Some of these are as follows:
- May 30, 2018. Checkpoint and dis-arming of PNP patrol car.
An NPA platoon of Front 10 launched an early morning checkpoint operation along an isolated gravel road stretch in Sitio Tanggupon, Barangay Mauswagon, Godod, Zamboanga del Norte. The snaking uphill drive from Salug town to Godod serves as the shortest route for passemger vehicles and motorists who normally traverse between the two fourth-class towns. Scouting reports had observed that a police patrol car belonging to the Godod PNP station would motor down to the national highway and back to Godod at regular intervals daily.
Posting low behind thin roadside bushes, the Red fighters sprang quickly to block the narrow roadway with their guns locked at the fast approaching police vehicle while others briskly flanked the sides. Startled at being visibly surrounded, the targeted car made a sudden screech. Upon hearing the command, “ We just want your guns, not your life”, the two police officers on board heaved a sigh of relief, quickly alighted with hands up and calmly pointed at their guns inside the vehicle.
Captured and subsequently released were PO1 Reynaldo Lismes and SPO1 Osias Gomez. Seized were the following: three (3) M16 rifles, one (1) 9mm pistol, thirteen (13) magazines and live ammunitions, a pair of combat boots and handcuffs, and two (2) holsters. Wads of paper money bills, purportedly intended for the police station’s monthly salaries and benefits, was dutifully returned as the captives were allowed to walk back home. The police patrol car was doused with gasoline and totally burned.
The Red fighters also extended kind words and consolation to a nursing mother who, with her newly-born first child, had hitch-hiked and got an early morning scare of her life. When she learned that it was an NPA force all around her, she muttered, “ Oh!” and began to relax.
A minute or two later after the police officers were released, a Red fighter realized one them was walking on barefoot and called out, “Hey Mr. Officer, come back! You forgot to wear your slippers!” The police officer stared down momentarily and walked back slowly, wore his slippers and thanked the NPAs for saving his soles from blisters. “ We drove from Salug only on slippers. Not expecting anything like this. Thank you. You’re not as bad as we thought you are.”
- July 27, 2018. Surprise attack of 42nd IB backfires: seven (7) killed, one (1) wounded.
The 42nd IB had prided itself with a no-nonsense offensive thrust in fighting and cautious defensive posture when on the move since arriving in Zamboanga in early 2018. But an NPA demolition team had sneaked in and scored a successful attritive operation last May 18, 2018 by blowing up a 6×6 truck just a kilometer away from Kalawit town, Zamboanga del Norte where the 42nd IB headquarters is based. The truck was a total wreck, killing seven (7) and wounding three (3) fascist troopers on board. With a bit of its ego bruised and deflated, the 42nd IB had been itching to strike back by demolishing the NPA platoon with one lethal stroke.
They got their ill-wishes last July 27, 2018 at Sitio Kulasian, Barangay Kulalian, still a part of Kalawit town. Deploying two 42nd IB platoons with CAFGU contingents against the NPA’s one, the enemy wasted no time in mounting an ammediate ground attack on the basis of confirmed intelligence reports of a new NPA encampment in the area. True enough, the Red fighters were resting in a woody elevated terrain but only surrounded by sparse outgrowths of bushes and cogon grasses. An enemy’s surprise attack could only come from below as the NPA defense plan calculated.
At 6:00 AM that day, the camp raiders started with fast rounds of rifle, machine gun and grenade launcher fires without let-up. Though surprised at the first volley of fire from the enemy, NPA sentries immediately fired back. Seconds later, the NPA command focused its defense line on the enemy’s weak spot: visibility and short of protective cover while still on lower ground. The intruders committed the mistake of starting to fire while they were yet on unfavorable terrain. They too miscalculated too the NPA’s will to fight while holding on to the old notion that NPAs are predictable cowards ready to cop out in frightful disarray at the first burst of gunfire.
The Red fighters withdrew unharmed after 30 minutes of running gunbattle but left some belongings as some were busy with normal morning chores. But the fascist attackers left too tagging along their fatalities which included seven (7) killed and one (1) wounded in action.
The NPA’s active defense and determination broke the enemy’s lethal attack. The 42nd IB, clearly superior with all its swagger and bravado at the battlefront, started fast and furious but lost steam because of tactical errors in actual fighting.
- August 23, 2018. Five (5) enemies killed, three (3) others wounded in NPA-97th IB encounter.
Fascist troopers from the 97th IB-PA , a new arrival in Zamboanga in mid-2018, had been combing the forested boundaries of Godod-Kabasalan towns since the start of August to bolster the AFP’s intensified all-out war campaigns. Like any other freshly reinforced battalion, the 97th IB intended to start with a bang but, unluckily this time, ended up with a whimper.
By the early morning of August 23, three enemy platoons had converged at different rallying points in the hinterland of Barangay Delokot, part of Godod municipality. At 3:00 PM, after verifying scouting reports of an NPA encampment, an enemy column on standby was quickly dispatched and started an uphill commando maneuver to stage a surprise attack.
But the Red fighters had been alerted and had expected that the possibility of a shooting war was high in the ensuing next few minutes or hours. The platoon command decided to put up a brief fight rather than opting for outright withdrawal before the the enemy could reach camp. Any other counter argument could have been rendered moot and academic because the enemy’s commando platoon had stealthily crept upwards and had neared the camp’s base.
The firing started at 3:15 PM when NPA sentries had detected unusual ground and foliage movements signifying an imminent attack. The Red fighters opened fire first and quickly followed it up by a command-detonated explosive salvo. The enemy mounted a searing counter-attack but were bogged down by casualties as spirited NPA defenders defiantly stood their ground in active defense. The Red fighters safely withdrew without any casualty after twenty (20) minutes of firefight.
When the attackers took over the abandoned camp, they were still deliriously mad and spent thousands of ammunition rounds firing into empty air, silent trees and empty hillsides which lasted until dusk. Confirmed casualties on the enemy side included five (5) killed and three (3) wounded, including a CAFGU combatant.
An army officer lamely admitted: “ The NPAs were just lucky that time. They occupied superior ground, fired their guns first while we were still trying to occupy some favorable ground.”
- September 12, 2018. Notorious human rights violator punished.
Jusery Baed Bongkawel, 44 years old of Barangay San Isidro, Sergio Osmena, Zamboanga del Norte, was not the ordinary type of military intelligence asset who lurks in a barangay corner or tracks down NPA mountain trails. Jusery was a hired killer and blood-thirsty executioner under the PNP payroll, and legally fronting as barangay CVO.
In a defensive action suffered by an NPA team in an encounter with the 53rd IB last February 2018, in the above-mentioned barangay, Red fighter Wilson Taata was severely wounded, taken as captive by the enemy operating troops and promptly turned over to the municipal PNP station of Sergio Osmena. He needed immediate medical attention as his left leg was badly shattered and almost severed from his body. His relatives who came searching for Wilson never saw him alive. When found, he had bullet wounds in his head. Instead of bringing him to a hospital, he was summarily executed.
Reliable witnesses and other informed sources corroborated that it was Jusery who pulled the trigger upon orders by his police handlers. Equally accountable for the murder of a fatally wounded and totally defenseless captive Red fighter were the fascist commanding officers who ordered the finishing bullets.
Jusery had previousy been accused of murdering a mass activist named Romy Rompas in 2017. Two other cases of gangland-style executions for a fee was attributed to Jusery. Local inhabitants of Sergio Osmena feared him while they hated him.
The Front 1- BBC Operations Command finally caught up with the butcher on the loose at his sari-sari store in San Isidro. At 6:30 PM on September 12, 2018, a special NPA squad swooped in and handed down his death punishment. The implementing team made sure Jusery would go down before he could shoot back and with no civilian damages. Confiscated from his possession was a 45 caliber pistol with four (4) magazines and seventy-four (74) live ammunition.
- September 11, 2018. Unrepenttant turncoat and traitor punished.
Bienvenido Fabellar, aka Wennie, was a former NPA Red fighter who quit the movement in the late 1980s after serving for two years and surrendered. After leaving, he went back to his old ways of gambling and drinking and ignored his wife’s pleadings to stop his wasteful vices. On the other hand, he distanced himself for a time from military intelligence agents who kept pestering him to get actively involved in local intelligence gathering or else face rearrest to downright summary execution.
Citing a constant threat to his life, he requested to be re-admitted to the NPA in 2005. A month after being allowed to rejoin the NPA ranks in 2006, he bolted out with an M14 rifle and surrendered it to the 55th IB battalion in Leon Postigo after futile persuasive attempts by comrades and relatives to return the stolen item. Unknown to many at that time when he was re-accepted by the front committee, he had made a secret pact with the devil: steal a gun and go scot-free from military retribution. He collected his Balik-Baril bounty anyway. He had wanted to support his ruinous lifestyle so badly without sweating it out with honest labor.
Not even a suspended death sentence for treachery could dissuade Wennie from further sinking into total degeneration. Hunting easy money to burn, he intensified his activity as a psywar agent and as guide to several combat operations against the NPA in the neighboring town of Leon Postigo, Sindangan and Godod. He would even steal hard-earned money from his close relatives when penniless who hated him for being so wretched and irresponsible to his struggling family.
He was punished while boozing it up with friends in the annual fiesta of his native Barangay Tinuyop, Leon Postigo, Zamboanga del Norte last September 11, 2018. He was 52 years old.
- September 23, 2018. Anti-NPA hunter hunted down.
Biboy Ocnep, 22 years old, grew up in highly-militarized Bunawan, a barangay of mountainous Godod municipality. The area was abandoned by the people’s army in the 1990s and recovered only during the last three years. Being a lumad, Biboy grew up as a wild boar hunter and depended on burn- and-slash method of farming with his family. He volunteered to serve the NPA in early 2016.
But finding life with the NPAs difficult and demanding physically and mentally, he was granted permission to leave the service. He surrendered a week later to the local army detachment in Bunawan who assigned him to do manual errands for the the camp. He was groomed to be a loyal and reliable scout and tracker for the Bunawan forests which was his comfort zone.
As he was monitored by the local population to guide military combat operations on a regular basis, the NPA command tried to talk it out with Biboy’s family and admonished them to convince their son to stop cooperating with the enemy, they washed their hands saying they could do nothing about it. In fairness, Biboy’s relatives tried but the former would blurt out, “The NPAs are only few in numbers, I have been there with them. They are cowards and easy to wipe out!”
Young as he was, Biboy’s mind was corrupted by his fascist masters. He vigorously intensified his anti-NPA tracking activities either in tandem or as a solo-flight mercenary. After the Delokot encounter last Augut 23, he bragged about the “NPAs shuddering with fear as they scrambled for their lives without putting up a fight.”
He was hunted down in Sitio Matagnay, Bunawan, Godod at 6:00 AM with the support of the local people whom he frequently exposed and harrassed as NPA supporters.