TWO alleged members of the New People’s Army (NPA) rebels were captured in an encounter with elements of the Philippine Army’s 79th Infantry Battalion at Sitio Maitom in Escalante City’s Barangay Old Poblacion Tuesday morning, September 17.
Brigadier General Benedict Arevalo, 303rd Infantry Brigade commander, identified the two captured rebels as Jomar “Mari” Agustin, a resident of Toboso town; and Revely “Tara” Tayab, a resident of Don Salvador Benedicto town.
According to Arevalo, the gun battle ensued after they received a report from the local that they have spotted several armed individuals roaming in their area.
It is believed that the soldiers engaged between seven to 10 NPA rebels, which lasted for at least 10 minutes until the rebels retreated.
Soldiers recovered two .45 caliber pistols with eight live bullets, a hammock, and a rifle bandoleer in the encounter site.
No one was wounded during the battle and it is still unknown if the rebels suffered additional casualties during the fight, although around 100 civilians were evacuated.
A background check performed by police against Agustin later confirmed he is a member of the NPA’s Northern Negros Front and responsible for the murder of a police officer back in 2013.
Information further provided by the army’s intelligence sources point that the insurgents were in the area in order to plan a sabotage on the scheduled three-day peace summit in the city.
The army is conducting hot pursuit operations against the remaining rebels, while the captured rebels are presently detained at the Escalante City Police Station.
The battle is the second this month following the encounter that took place in the city’s Barangay Paitan which resulted to the death of five NPA insurgents and the wounding of three soldiers. (TDE)