JUST three days after the Philippine Army vow to avenge their comrades who were killed in an ambush in Sipalay City, Negros Occidental, two suspected members of the Communist Terrorist Groups (CTG) die in an encounter with the government troops this time at the hinterlands of the province’s Moises Padilla town yesterday, November 28.

Brigadier General Inocencio Pasaporte, commander of the 303rd Infantry Brigade identified the killed rebels as Johnhilll Sarsa, alias “Mark” and Dalmacio Dela Torre, alias “Delmar’, residents of Barangays Planas and Trinidad in Guihulngan City, Negros Oriental, respectively.

Military records showed that Sarsa is the political officer of Sandatahang Yunit Pampropaganda (SYP) Platoon Lenovo, Central Negros Front 1 (CN1), Komiteng Rehiyon – Negros Cebu, Bohol, Siquijor (KR-NCBS) while Dela Torre is a member of the group.

Pasaporte said there could be other wounded CTGs based on the heavy bloodstains found along their withdrawal route.

He said the gun battle erupted past 7 a.m. yesterday at Sitio Binataan in the town’s Barangay Quintin Remo and lasted for 30 minutes.

“After which, the rebels flee, leaving their dead comrades behind,” Pasaporte also said.

Members of the 62nd Infantry Battalion recovered two M16 rifles and seven magazines for the same caliber; an M203 grenade; an AK 47 rifle with three ammunition; an M14 rifle; a Magnum .357 revolver with ammunitions; two rifle grenades, a 40-millimeter high explosive ammunition; a medical equipment and supplies; two bandoliers; two CTG flags; three backpacks; and subversive documents.

Pasaporte said this incident should be a reminder for the remaining CTG members to abandon the armed struggle and to return to the folds of the government as they have lost the support of the people.

“Take the opportunity being offered by the government and live a peaceful productive life with your families,” he said, stressing that it’s not yet too late.

In a related development, National Security Adviser (NSA) Dr. Clarita Carlos condemned the killing of the two soldiers in Sipalay City.

On November 24, four unidentified armed men gunned down Sergeant Regie Glendro and Staff Sergeant Ken Camilan of the Army’s 47th Infantry Battalion in Barangay Camindangan, Sipalay City.

The 47th IB said the slain soldiers were conducting coordination for the upcoming local peace engagement with the populace involving the former mass supporters of the rebels.

Armando Sumayang Jr. Command- New People’s Army Southwest Guerrilla Front (ASJC-NPA) admitted responsibility for the ambush.

Carlos, in a statement, slammed the Communist Party of the Philippines-National Democratic Front (CPP-NDF) and its armed wing, the NPA said the latest report of the killing linked to the communist group “was both infuriating and saddening to hear.”

She lamented that despite the government’s successful operations and other milestones in promoting peace during the last few weeks in Visayas, they still happen.

Carlos, who is also vice chairman of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-Elcac), stressed the need to end terrorism.

“Such tragedies will be repeated over and over again unless we solve the problem of insurgency and terrorism in our country,” she added.*