ELEMENTS of the 15th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army, along with their counterparts from the Negros Occidental Police Provincial Office and the Philippine National Police-Special Action Force, have overran a suspected New People's Army (NPA) factory for improvised explosive device (IED) and captured three suspected rebels in Sipalay City's Barangay Camindangan, on Sunday, August 18.
Police identified the suspects as 34-year-old Roberto Tingson and 38-year-old Jory Mate, both residents of Sipalay City and allegedly members of the NPA's Yunit Militia.
Police also arrested a man, identified only by his alias as "Amado," who is suspected to be the factory's IED expert.
Based on a joint statement issued by the police and the Philippine Army, they received an intelligence report of a supposed IED manufacturing camp in the area, prompting them to initiate an operation they called "Oplan: Branstark III."
A firefight then ensued between the troops and five NPA members who were serving as guards for at least 10 minutes. The insurgents were forced to flee to the dense jungle near their camp site.
Police then arrested the three suspects, while two other residents living nearby were invited to the police station for further questioning.
There were no fatalities reported among the government forces who conducted the operation.
Authorities seized five sets of live IEDs, IED materials, and components weighing almost two kilos.
They also uncovered several other bomb making materials, blasting caps, three radios, assorted ammunition, several firearms, and subversive documents.
The three arrested suspects are facing charges for illegal possession of firearms and explosives, and are presently under the custody of the Sipalay City Police Station.