Despite the much hyped Pacman boxing fight, Army soldiers clashed with communist rebels in a hinterland village of Masbate early morning today.
Lt.Col Julian 'Jun' Pacatan, Commanding Officer of 9th Infantry Battalion, said that the encounter happened in Matagbac village, Milagros town at around 6am.
He said that he sent a team of soldiers led by 2LT Francis Alfie Tuazon to arrest the rebels who were extorting the residents in the area.
The heavy exchange of gunfire ensued when the soldiers were fired upon by more or less 10 rebels. The rebels fled with their casualties prompting a running gunbattle which lasted 15mins.
No one was injured among the government troops. The soldiers confiscated one M16 armalite rifle, one M653 baby armalite, 2 handguns and 25 improvised bombs.
“The villagers are fed up by this NPA extortion. While the soldiers are providing medical missions and feeding programs, the communist rebels continue to ask money from them,” said Pacatan.
“We will miss Pacman’s fight today because of our relentless pursuit operations. Like Pacman, we want to win this fight against extortionists,” he added.
Major General Josue Gaverza, commander of the 9th Infantry Division has directed 903rd Commander Colonel Felix Castro Jr to conduct agressive security patrols against NPA extortionists who are despised by the people.