TINAMBAC, CAMARINES SUR — A high-ranking official of the New People's Army (NPA), identified as Vergel Balcueva, was killed during a firefight with government troops on Monday, according to a statement from the 9th Infantry Division (9ID) of the Philippine Army.

According to Philippines News Agency, chief of the 9ID Public Affairs Unit, the encounter occurred in Tinambac, Camarines Sur, and lasted about 10 minutes. Balcueva, known by the aliases Disan, Joey, and James, and the leader of the Front Operational Command of Sub-Regional Committee-2, was reportedly abandoned by his comrades as they fled the scene, leaving behind an M16 rifle and personal belongings.

Roldan further stated that Balcueva was on the wanted list for multiple charges, including two counts each of attempted murder and frustrated murder, illegal possession of firearms, ammunition, and explosives, and violating Republic Act 9851 — the Philippine Act on Crimes Against International Humanitarian Law, Genocide, and Other Crimes Against Humanity.

The clash did not result in any other injuries or fatalities among government forces or local residents. Following the incident, the 9ID expressed expectations for the weakening of NPA forces and anticipated more surrenders from the group, contributing to a reduction in their operational strength.

The military continues to conduct operations to ensure public safety and secure the upcoming national and local elections. Major General Adonis Bajao, commander of the 9ID, encouraged public cooperation with authorities and vigilance in reporting suspicious activities, emphasizing community solidarity as essential for maintaining order and combating insurgency.

By admin