SEVEN communist rebels, including a woman, were killed in an encounter with combined elements of the military and the police in Tarlac province.
Col. Henry Sabare, commander, 703rd Brigade, said the firefight at Barangay Bobon, Caarosipan in Camiling town started at around 10 p.m. on Tuesday and ended at 6 a.m. the following day.
“It lasted the whole night because our troops could not assault the rebels’ position to avoid collateral damage. So it was only this morning that they assaulted,” Sabare said. “There were no casualties on the side of the government.”
Recovered from the site, he added, were seven bodies and seven high-powered firearms that include an M60 machinegun, an M14, a 653 Baby Armalite, and three M16s.
Sabare said they suspected that a high ranking New People’s Army (NPA) leader was at the said place when the encounter took place, considering the quality of firearms, which, he pointed out, were not on the military’s inventory record of known firepower by the rebels.
“They have a machinegun, it is only now that it was exposed plus the firearms that they carried were really high caliber quality,” he added.
Asked if they were really NPAs, Sabare said that they have no doubt about it though they were still checking the rebel group’s affiliation.
But authorities, Sabare further said, were still checking the identities of the fatalities.
He estimated that there were some 25 fully armed NPA rebels are operating in the Tarlac and Zambales areas.
Army spokesman Col. Ran-dolf Cabangbang said that prior to the encounter, the military received information from civilians that a group of armed were in their barangay.
Immediately, he added, the Third Mechanized Battalion deployed troops in coordination with the Provincial Public Safety Company of Tarlac City.
Firefight ensued when government troops sighted the NPA that triggered sporadic firefight and skirmishes throughout the night.