The Department of Social Welfare and Development-Western Visayas (DSWD-6) has provided financial and funeral assistance to the families of the six New People’s Army (NPA) rebels who were killed in a clash with troops of the Philippine Army’s 47th Infantry Battalion (IB) in Kabankalan City, Negros Occidental on Sept. 21.
47IB civil-military operations officer 1Lt. Charmaine Sancho on Wednesday said all bodies were identified and claimed by their respective next of kin.
Together with Kabankalan Mayor Benjie Miranda, Sancho witnessed the release of the PHP10,000 cash aid to each family representative of the five fatalities from Negros Occidental at the City Social Development Welfare Office (CSWDO) on Monday.
The fatalities, all from NPA South West Front Squad 2 of Sangay Yunit Propaganda Platoon 3, were identified as Pedro Pillar Jabalde, 31, of Barangay Malabuyucon Buenavista, Guihulngan City, Negros Oriental; the squad leader initially identified as Alejo “Peter/Bravo” de los Reyes; Ruben de la Cruz Gaitan, 31,of Barangay Camansi, Kabankalan City; Bobby Totin Pedro, 28, of Barangay Tabu, Ilog; Mario Fajardo Mollon, 60, of Barangay Cabia-an, Candoni; Melisa Hiro de la Peña, 23, of Barangay Inayawan, Cauayan; and Janesa Malasabas Romano, 22, of Barangay Buenavista, Himamaylan City.
The release of the cash assistance for the family of the fatality from Guihungan is being processed, Sancho said.
The Kabankalan City government also provided cash assistance and food packs to Gaitan’s family, while the other local governments, where the other fatalities came from, also granted burial assistance to their families.
Troops of the 47IB clashed with the group of communist rebels, led by Jabalde, who fired at them in Sitio Lubi, Barangay Tabugon while responding to the reported presence of armed men demanding food and money from the locals.
Maj. Gen. Marion Sison, commander of the 3rd Infantry Division, dismissed claims the soldiers committed human rights violations during the encounter, saying the operation was legitimate and welcomed any inquiry by any independent party.
“Those who died in the said encounter were top cadres of the communist-terrorist group. Their long record of notoriety is well-known in southern Negros or the CHICKS (Candoni, Hinobaan, Ilog, Cauayan, Kabankalan, and Sipalay) area,” he said in a statement on Monday. (PNA)