The Capiz-based 3rd Infantry Division strongly condemned the New People’s Army (NPA) for violating its own ceasefire declaration by firing upon troopers of the 11th Infantry Battalion who were conducting peace and security patrols in La Libertad, Negros Oriental Sunday afternoon.
Major Ray Tiongson, the unit’s spokesperson, said the incident transpired around 5:05 p.m. in Sitio Center Cut, Barangay Pitogo in La Libertad town.
He added that 11th Infantry Battalion troopers were patrolling in the vicinity when fired upon by around 10 rebels.
Tiongson said government troopers fired back with he exchange of gunfire lasting 10 minutes. One NPA fighter died while government forces sustained no casualties.
The encounter also resulted to the recovery of one M-1 Garand rifle with loaded magazine, several spent M-16 shells and a military backpack that contains subversive documents and personal belonging.
Tiongson said the troops were in the area to maintain support to government and civil authorities’ peace and development programs.
Brig. Gen. Francisco Patrimonio, 302nd Infantry Brigade commander, said the NPA attack is a clear violation of the NPAs’ ceasefire declaration.
“It only shows that their leadership has no control over their units. The Army here in Negros remains vigilant in securing and protecting the people from these lawless armed elements,” he added.
This is the second time that the NPA has violated their ceasefire declaration.
Last Nov. 16, the rebels also fired upon the government troops in Kabankalan City, Negros Occidental two days after they declared a ceasefire in the guise of helping the typhoon-victims.
One soldier was wounded in the encounter. PNA