GOVERNMENT security forces engaged Maoist rebels in a series of encounters in Iloilo province that resulted in an undetermined number of casualties on the enemy side and recovery of several high-powered firearms and ammunitions.
Maj. Ray Tiongson, chief, Public Affairs Office, Third Infantry Division, on Friday said that the latest encounter took place at Sitio Anoy, Barangay Cabalunan in Miag-ao town while troopers from the 82nd Infantry Battalion were on a hot pursuit operation.
Recovered from the site were an M-14 rifle, a hand grenade, two rounds of ammunition for M-203 grenade launcher and three backpacks containing subversive documents.
A day after the barangay elections, Tiongson added, government forces also encountered the same group of lawless elements in the boundary of Barangay Dalije and Barangay Alimodias in the same town that yielded three improvised explosive devices, assorted rounds of live ammunition for M-16 and M-14 rifles, a round of live ammunition for M203 grenade launcher and subversive documents.
He said that many of the red fighters were believed killed or injured as shown by bloodstains in the enemies’ route of withdrawal while one soldier, Private First Class Garbo, was also wounded.
Garbo was hit on the right portion of his shoulder, was declared out of danger and is now recuperating in a government hospital.
Brig. Gen. Arnold Quiapo, commander, 301st IB, said that a military medical team is on standby to help wounded New People’s Army members who seek for medical assistance, adding that two Air Force helicopters were also placed on alert for possible air evacuation of seriously wounded rebels.
“We call on those rebels to come out, lay down their arms peacefully and be given proper medication. They are being assured of their safety and that their human rights will be respected,” Quiapo appealed.
Despite the series of encounters, Third ID commander Brig. Gen. Aurelio Baladad assured that they would not falter in their efforts to win the peace in the region.
“The only way to stop this conflict is for us to unite and work in harmony,” Baladad added. “A lot of our people have already suffered brought by the armed struggle and it must be put to a stop.”