TWO soldiers were killed while four others were wounded after their armed encounter against at least 25 members of New People’s Army (NPA) in Moises Padilla town, Negros Occidental Wednesday afternoon, November 3, 2021.

Captain Kim Apitong, spokesperson of the 3rd Infantry Division (ID) of the Philippine Army, said the casualties and wounded soldiers were airlifted on a black hawk helicopter to the Visayas Command Headquarters in Cebu.

As of this writing, the identities of the casualties and wounded soldiers were not yet released.

Based on the medical bulletin released by the army Thursday, November 4, the wounded troopers are now in stable condition.

Apitong said two encounters happened.

The first was between 79th Infantry Battalion (IB) troopers and suspected NPA members in Sitio Tiyos, Barangay Quintin Remo in Moises Padilla, he said.

It lasted for more than an hour, the 3rd ID spokesperson said.

About an hour later, soldiers, this time, under the 62nd IB, also encountered the alleged rebel group in the same place.

Apitong said four NPA members were believed to have been wounded or died based on some accounts of the soldiers.

There were also bloodstains in areas where the rebels passed while escaping from the government forces.

About a hundred residents were forced to evacuate during the encounter.

Apitong claimed that the rebels are doing extortion activities to a contractor of the road project near the encounter site that connects Negros Oriental and Negros Occidental.

He said the soldiers were sent to the area on combat operation after gathering intelligence reports of the rebels’ plan to attack an ongoing government road project in Hilaitan to Trinidad in Guihulngan, Negros Oriental.

The project is already about 90-percent completed.

Initial recovery from the encounter site included three backpacks, two cellphones, two gas stoves and personal belongings of suspected rebels.

For his part, Major General Benedict Arevalo, commander of the 3rd ID, said the army will not allow the NPA terrorists to stage atrocities and conduct their extortion scheme in the region.

“As I direct our troops to conduct relentless military operations against these terrorists, I encourage all Negrenses to join our fight against this terrorist group by constantly providing information about their plans and activities and further preventing them from casting more terror,” Arevalo added.