NPA: Successful Gubat ambush, Ka Magno’s last hurrah

SORSOGON — Andres “Ka Magno” Hubilla helped plan the ambush that killed four government troopers and injured seven others Monday, the Celso Minguez Command of the New People’s Army (NPA) in this province said.

In a statement today, the provincial NPA unit said their fallen Communist Party of the Philippines Sorsogon Party Committee Secretary helped in the painstaking planning of the ambush days before he was killed because of many human rights violations reportedly committed by the state troopers.

“Kasabay si Ka Magno na naging bahagi ng matiyagang pagpaplano at pag-aaral ng sitwasyon para maikasa ang nasabing ambus,” Ka Samuel Guerrero, Celso Minguez Command spokesperson, said.

Guerrero said they successfully ambushed a platoon of the 31st Infantry Battallion of the Philippine Army and the 5th Regional Public Safety Battalion of the Philippine National Police based in Gubat town in Barangay Marinas at 5:25 in the morning Monday.

Guerrero claimed they killed four soldiers, including platoon leader 2Lt. Lee Omega Tremedal, Sgt. Rolyn Cabagon, Pfc. Jaype Nebiar and another he failed to identify.

The rebel spokesperson also named five of the injured 31st IBPA troopers, including Michael Lionar, Jeremy Tu, Roland Sayson, Eduard Lumanog and Mark Oscillada.

Meanwhile, Maj. Virgilio Perez, spokesperson of the Southern Luzon Command of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) yesterday said only two soldiers were killed and seven were wounded in yesterday’s clash.

Perez declined to name the casualties pending formal AFP notification of their families.

Guerrero said their Red fighters took three M4 carbine rifles, ammunition pouches, military packs and radio equipment from the waylaid soldiers.

“Kampanteng naglalakad ang 30-kataong tropang kaaway ng tambangan ng mga kasama. Umabot ng 45-minuto ang labanan,” Guerrero said.

“Ang maging sobrang kampante at mayabang ang bulnerabilidad ng kaaway na nasamantala ng mga kasama,” he added.

Guerrero said the ambush was also a reaction to the continuous combat operations by the government troops in Casiguran and Gubat towns since August 3.

Residents of several Casiguran barangays had been wary of increased military presence in the area since the killing of Hubilla, fellow NPA member Miguel “Ka Billy” Himor and civilians Arnel Borres and Dick Laura in Barangay Trece Martires last July 28.

Hubilla and Himor’s wakes were held in neighboring Barangay Sta. Cruz, a few kilometers from the ambush site.

The 31st IBPA was the unit involved in what locals say was the “Casiguran Massacre.”

“Inspirasyon ng mga kasama sa matagumpay na taktikal na opensibang ito ang dakilang buhay ng dalawang rebolusyonaryong martir (Hubilla and Himor),” Guerrero said. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

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)

‘Beloved sons’ of Sta Cruz: Thousands flock plaza to honor NPA fighters

SORSOGON— Thousands of people from all walks of life from all over the Bicol Region flocked to Barangay Sta. Cruz in Casiguran town Sunday night. They came to honor the two fallen New People’s Army (NPA) fighters Andres Hubilla and Miguel Himor in a unique tribute.

Progressive songs blared throughout the community. Flags of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), NPA and National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) lined up the plaza. The villagers carried and arranged chairs for the visitors while children ran around as if a fiesta was being celebrated.

Before darkness fell, the caskets of Hubilla and Himor were transferred from their respective homes to the plaza. They were placed on the stage amidst flowers and banners. An announcer periodically told the gathering crowd the tribute for two of Sta. Cruz’s most beloved sons shall start on time.

Hubilla was Ka Magno, Ka Carlo, or Ka Bunso to the NPA while he was “Pay Magno” to the peasants and fisher folk of this southernmost Luzon province. For nearly three decades, he was among the leaders of the storied Celso Minguez Command of the NPA that government troops failed to crush through countless counter-insurgency operations from the Corazon Aquino to the current Rodrigo Duterte governments.

Hubilla: A teacher to the end

But it was the brutal Ferdinand Marcos dictatorship that turned a quiet and conscientious student to a legendary NPA commander in Hubilla. While still a 14-year old Grade Four student on his way home from school, he was stopped by troops from then Philippine Constabulary (PC), tortured, arrested and imprisoned for 75 days. Upon his release, he was again accosted, tortured and arrested by the PC. He quietly joined the Kabataang Makabayan soon after while resuming his studies and being a working student.

“It was nearly inconceivable that Andres would become an activist because he was focused on his studies and in his work as a house boy. In fact, he was my best student in English,” Ma’am ‘Cely’ told AlterMidya.

Through sheer determination and hard work, Hubilla finished his teacher’s course at Anunciation College in Sorsogon and was immediately hired as a high school teacher at his alma mater’s campus in Gubat town.

There, he became a very popular teacher who got along famously with his students. Teaching remained a life-long passion with Hubilla even when he was already with the NPA.

“He was responsible for sending hundreds of peasant children to school by asking benefactors for scholarships. He also spearheaded repairs and enhancements of many schools throughout the province. I wonder what would become of his education projects now that he is gone,” Ma’am Cely said.

Himor: A ‘regular’ route to becoming a guerilla

Himor, on the other hand, took a more regular route to becoming a revolutionary fighter. Also a son to poor peasants like his distant uncle Hubilla, poverty forced “Ka Billy” to find a job as a store errand boy in Metro Manila.

There, he realized that contractual workers like him would never be able to escape poverty and lifelong servitude without drastic social reforms. As soon as turned 18, he went back to this province and asked to be drafted into the NPA.

“Ka Billy showed early his potential of becoming a good fighter and organizer. He was a jolly fellow, joking about his self-declared good looks to crack people up. But he convinced a barrio maiden he was indeed good looking enough and they soon got married. They have a baby barely a year old,” the CPP in Bicol said.

Himor was only 21 when he was killed on July 28 along with Hubilla and civilians Arnel Borres and Dick Laura a few kilometers away from where their bodies lie in state in Barangay Sta. Cruz.

Funeral march

Thousands of supporters are expected to participate in today’s funeral of the fallen NPA fighters.
A five-kilometer march from Barangay Sta. Cruz will precede a funeral mass at Casiguran’s Catholic church before a noontime internment, family members said.

“It will be one of the biggest funeral marches this town shall ever hold with not just barrio mates and relatives but with hundreds of supporters from all the Bicol provinces,” a CPP member said.

Hubilla and Himor would be interred at Casiguran Cemetery.

“Ka Magno and Ka Billy’s heroism and service will serve as as inspiration to the people of Sorsogon to continue the fight for liberation and social justice,” the NPA’s Celso Minguez Command said in a statement. # Report by Raymund B. Villanueva / Altermidya