A SOLDIER and three suspected members of the New People’s Army (NPA) were killed during separate encounters in Negros Oriental over the weekend.
The first incident took place in Barangay Talalak, Sta. Catalina town at dawn last Friday, June 21, 2019.
Armed men believed to be communist rebels attacked the patrol base of the 12th Infantry Battalion (IB) around 5 a.m.
Town police were quick to respond to help the soldiers.
A grenade was lobbed into the base, but it did not explode. When soldiers and police retaliated, the rebels retreated. Two of the latter’s men were killed, including one identified as Antonio Cardinas.
Last Saturday night, June 22, Corporal Leoter Cagape of the 94th IB was killed in an encounter in Barangay Bantolinas in Majuyod town, not far from where members of the Police Regional Office (PRO) 7 were conducting a medical and dental mission earlier in the day. Also wounded were Private First Class Cris Emmanuel Paja and Private Debyl Reyes.
Brig. Gen. Ignacio Madriaga, commander of the 302nd Brigade, said soldiers clashed with members of the Leonardo Panaligan and Apolinario Gamaitan Groups, which operate in the province and in Negros Occidental.
PRO 7 Director Debold Sinas accused the NPA of harassing residents the day before the medical and dental mission so they wouldn’t show up for the activity.
And no one showed until noon Saturday. But unlike in previous activities, there were no women or children, just men, Sinas said.
Later that night, during a concert organized by the police at the town plaza, rebels attacked.
The exchange of gunfire lasted well over an hour. When morning arrived, soldiers recovered the rebels’ firearms and improvised explosive devices, as well as the dead bodies of Corporal Cagape and an unidentified rebel. Also found at the scene were juice bottles that the PRO 7 had distributed during the medical mission.
“This only proves some of them attended the activity,” Sinas said in Cebuano.
The military also captured three rebels. (From AYB of SuperBalita Cebu, PJB)