TWO members of the New People's Army (NPA) rebels, one of whom is the team leader of North Negros Front, were killed in an encounter with government troops in Hacienda Rosa, Barangay San Pablo, Manapla, in northern Negros Occidental at 5:30 a.m. Friday, some 15 kilometers from the town center.

Manapla Police Senior Inspector Edencio Gregorio said, those killed were Reynaldo Vasquez alias “Diego Bulag”, in his 50s, and a woman who was in her early 30s, whose persona have not been identified yet.

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Gregorio said the Philippine Army soldiers assigned with the 12th IB's San Pablo manned by Sgt. Romeo Arellano, encountered the rebels’ group in a running gun battle believed to have 20 members when the encounter occurred that lasted to more or less 30 minutes.

The rebels flee towards the direction of the hinterland barangays, said Gregorio.

Recovered from the rebels’ den were two M16 armalite rifles, two long magazines, six short magazines, assorted personal belongings, one rifle live grenade, 16 empty shell of M16, an empty shell of M203, all were high powered guns, said Gregorio.

The remains of the two slain rebels were brought to the local funeral parlor in Manapla town to be identified and expected claim by members of their families.

Vasquez was said to be a resident of Hacienda E. Lopez of Silay City, Negros Occidental.

His wife, in a radio interview, admitted that her husband (Reynaldo) was “an NPA…and I am not ashamed to say and admit that!”

Gregorio said the army and his office had been receiving intelligence report that the rebels’ group had stayed in the area already for three days and believed to have been conducting tactical strategies.

This as an improvised board where several sketches and plotting of the possible deployment of their members having drawn on it, was recovered at the fighting scene, said Gregorio.

Perhaps, the group was deliberating on their recruitment process and on their extortion plan, said Gregorio.

Police Chief Inspector Rico Santotome Jr, spokesman of Negros Occidental Police Provincial Office (Noppo), said Police Senior Superintendent Manuel Felix has already directed PNP units in the third and second districts as well as the Negros Occidental Provincial Public Safety Management Company to conduct road blocks and assist the Army troopers who are still conducting pursuit operations against the fleeing rebels in the areas of Cadiz and Victorias cities.