BRIGADIER General Benedict Arevalo, commander of the 303rd Infantry Brigade of the Philippine Army, confirmed the capture of a suspected member of the New People's Army in an encounter in Sitio Dawhan, Barangay Buenavista, Himamaylan City, Saturday, May 4.
Arevalo said the 13-year-old minor was with the rebels but was left behind by his comrades during their escape.
During investigation, the military found the minor well versed about firearms, indicating that he has been trained.
He will be made to undergo a paraffin test to determine whether he fired a gun.
"This could be proof of the ‘child warrior' issue against the NPA,” Arevalo said.
He said the recent encounter was another reason that Himamaylan City has been placed under Category Red as far as the coming May 13 elections is concerned.
On May 4, at about 7 a.m., troops of the 62nd Infantry (Unifier) Battalion, Philippine Army encountered more or less 20 suspected communist NPA terrorists led by alias Jeron of Tahod Ilahas Territorial Platoon of Central Negros 2 in Sitio Dawhan, Barangay Buenavista, Himamaylan City, Negros Occidental.
The men from 62IB were conducting security operations in connection with the upcoming national and local elections responded to information about the presence of an armed group that was allegedly harassing and extorting from the farmers in Sitio Dawhan, Barangay Buenavista.
On their way to the said place, the troops encountered the suspected terrorists. A firefight lasted for about 15 minutes before the NPA withdrew.
The troops said they recovered seven backpacks with subversive documents, one Improvised Explosive Device and one CNT flag.
The military report cited “external sources” who said bloodstains in the area indicated there were casualties on the enemy side.
On January 1, this year, the 62IB also seized an NPA hideout that can accommodate 20 personnel in Sitio Dawhan, Barangay Buenavista.
Last April 9, troops also encountered an NPA group in Sitio Asaran, Barangay Buenavista which led to the recovery of IED paraphernalia, ammunition of caliber 38 and M6O and subversive documents with “high intelligence value”. (Teresa D. Ellera)