NPA’s Celso Minguez Command ambushes gov’t troops on the day fallen comrades are buried

CASIGURAN, SORSOGON—On the day of the funeral of two of their fallen comrades, the Celso Minguez Command of the New People’s Army (NPA) ambushed a patrolling unit of the Philippine Army Monday, killing a lieutenant and a sergeant and wounding seven government troopers in neighboring Gubat town.

As thousands of family members and supporters were preparing for the five-kilometer funeral march for Andres “Ka Magno” Hubilla and Miguel “Ka Billy” Himor, the Red fighters waylaid a unit of the Philippine Army using a command-detonated explosive at past five o’clock in the morning in Barangay Casili, Gubat.

Sources said the injured troopers were rushed to Sorsogon Doctors Hospital but reporters were prevented from entering the facility.

Both the 9th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army and the NPA have still to issue statements on the incident.

Units of the Philippine National Police set up checkpoints on roads leading to the site of the incident.

Hubilla and Himor, on the other hand, were buried at a private memorial park in downtown Casiguran after a long march led by red banners and streamers.

The caskets were borne on top of a flat-bed truck with honor guards standing on both sides as the march snaked around the town.

Activists and supporters from all over Sorsogon and the Bicol provinces joined the march, making the funeral the biggest seen by this town in decades.

Thousands of townsfolk also lined the streets as the funeral made its way to the cemetery, seemingly amazed at the banners of underground organizations being openly displayed.

In his homily during the funeral Mass, Monsignor Francisco Monje said Hubilla and Himor offered their lives in the service of the poor and should be remembered for selflessly offering their lives to bring genuine social change.

“Because we have all been promised change. But where is change? It is the likes of Andres and Miguel who give us alternatives for effecting change for the poor,” the priest said. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)