TACLOBAN CITY-About four alleged members of the New People’s Army (NPA) died in two arm clashes with the government troops in Catarman, Northern Samar on Sunday (May 28) afternoon.

The first encounter between the seven-member rebel group and soldiers belonging to the 43rd Infantry Battalion happened at about 2:10 pm in Barangay Mabini, Catarman.
The 15-minute firefight resulted to the death of two rebels who belong to the sub-regional unit, sub-regional committee emporium of the Eastern Visayas Regional Party Committee(EVRPC) headed by Mario Sevillano, who is also known as alias Durok.

The rebels later withdrew in different directions with the soldiers immediately conducted a hot pursuit operation.

At about 3:47 pm, the soldiers headed by Lt. Ian Tolentino engaged the same rebel group in a five-minute fire fight in the vicinity of Mabini.

With the rebels withdrawing, the soldiers scoured the area and found two dead bodies of suspected rebels.

A Cal. 45 with two magazines loaded with ammunitions and two rifle 5.56mm M16A1 with three magazines were recovered by the government forces.

Meantime, an alleged top leader of the NPA operating in the region was arrested in San Jose del Monte, Bulacan on May 26, the 8th Infantry Division, based in Catbalogan City, Samar, said in its report on Sunday (May 28).

The arrested rebel leader was identified as Rosita Solayao Taboy, who is known as alias ‘Laling’ and said to be the former secretary of the regional organization department and a member of the executive committee of the EVRPC.

The report also identified the rebel leader as a staff of the national finance commission of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP)-NPA.

Arrested with her was her husband, known as alias Beto, identified to be part of the national operations command of the communist armed group.

The couple, which faces several multiple criminal cases, was said to be living in Bulacan and was traced through a military intelligence report.

Several firearms were seized from them who were described by the military as responsible for several killing incidents and involved in ambuscades, including the burning of a communication tower in Catbalogan last Jan. 6,2000.

Major Gen. Camilo Ligayo, the commanding general of the 8th ID, said that the arrest of the couple is yet another indication that the insurgency problem in Eastern Visayas is weakening with the captured, or killed by its top leaders.

“The arrest of the couple….is another victory for the combined efforts of the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines in the pursuit of peace and security,” he said in a statement Sunday.

‘This is a great development in attaining justice in honor with the victims of violence perpetrated by the CPP-NPA in Eastern Visayas,” Ligayo added.