2 suspected rebels killed, high-powered firearms seized in clash

The recovered high-powered firearms, ammunition, and other belongings following the encounter at Brgy. Canlusong, E.B Magalona, Negros Occidental on Tuesday, October 17.
[79th IB photo]
The recovered high-powered firearms, ammunition, and other belongings following the encounter at Brgy. Canlusong, E.B Magalona, Negros Occidental on Tuesday, October 17. [79th IB photo]

Two suspected members of the New People’s Army died in an encounter with soldiers of the 79th Infantry (Masaligan) Battalion in Sitio Nabalas Dos, Brgy. Canlusong, E.B Magalona, Negros Occidental on Tuesday, October 17.

79IB commanding officer Lieutenant Colonel Arnel Calaoagan disclosed in a statement released Wednesday, October 18, that the encounter transpired at around 5:15 in the afternoon against some nine remnants of the dismantled Northern Negros Front (NNF), Komiteng Rehiyon-Negros/Cebu/Bohol/Siquijor (KR-NCBS) following a tip from a concerned civilian on the presence of armed men consolidating in the upland village of E.B Magalona town and instilling fear among the community.

The firefight lasted for about 15 minutes which resulted in the deaths of two suspected rebels and the recovery of two M16 rifles, one M14 rifle, and assorted bandoliers.

While clearing the area a day after the encounter, the troops also discovered the rebels harboring site and recovered one AR15 rifle, one M16 rifle, one Garand rifle, four rifle grenades, two backpacks, assorted live ammunition, medical paraphernalia, cooking pot with rice, personal belongings, and subversive documents with high intelligence value.

The Army identified the fatalities as Christian Job Joaquin Vargas alias Nacio, former Platoon Leader, SDG Pltn, CN2, KR-NCBS, former Platoon Leader of CN3, and Member of Regional Striking Force (RSF), and currently the Squad Leader of Squad 3 of the remnants of NNF (D); and Mylene Malasabas Salgado alias Iba/Shien/Ruth, who was a former political instructor of SDG Platoon, CN2 and a resident of Brgy. Buenavista, Himamaylan City, and a member of Squad 3.

The couple were said to be sent by the Regional Operations Command (ROC) from the Central Negros (CN) to reinforce the recovery efforts of the dismantled NNF of the KR-NCBS.

Upon verification by E.B Magalona police, Vargas and Salgado have an existing warrant of arrest for attempted murder.

Vargas has also multiple existing warrants of arrest for the crime of murder and was said to be involved in numerous violent atrocities including targeted killings, ambush of both army and police officers, civilians, and extortion activities, the Army said in the press release.

Lt. Col. Calaoagan, 79th IB commander, lauded the troops for their efforts against the rebels.

"The local residents played a crucial role in making this operation successful. It's just unfortunate that the communist-terrorist group continues to sacrifice the lives of their members just to pursue their criminal agenda,” he said.

He reiterated his call to the remaining CTGs to lay down their arms peacefully, avail the government's Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program, and live a normal and peaceful life with their families.

"There is no good future in the NPA organization. You could either be killed or live a life of constantly running and hiding," Calaoagan added.*

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