GOVERNMENT troops clashed with New People’s Army (NPA) rebels in Negros Occidental and Capiz, leaving two dead and two wounded from both camps.
The latest encounter took place early morning on Friday in the hinterland village of Dian-ay in Escalante City, Negros Occi–dental where one rebel was killed, while another rebel and a soldier were injured.
Commanding officer Lt. Col. Rommel Cordova of the 62nd Infantry Battalion, 3rd Infantry Division, said his men were on their way to check the reported presence of lawless elements in the said village when they were fired upon by more or less 10 armed men who are believed to be members of the Northern Negros Front, Komiteng Rehiyonal-Negros, one of the operating units of the NPA in the province.
“Our troops resorted to fire back and firefight ensued for 10 minutes. The NPA rebels withdraw in disarray leaving behind one of their dead comrades,” said Cordova.
The wounded NPA was identified as a certain Romly Palotes, who was brought to the hospital.
The identity of the slain rebel was, however, withheld, pending notification of next of kin.
Also injured during the encounter was 1Lt. John Rey Espinosa, who sustained a slight head injury and is now in stable condition.
Recovered in the scene of encounter is one Cal .45 pistol with five live ammunition.
Cordova said blood stains were seen along the NPA’s withdrawal routes, indicating more casualties on the rebel group’s side.
On Thursday, elements of the 61st Infantry Battalion (61IB) also engaged the rebels at Brgy. Roosevelt in Tapaz, Capiz.
Lt. Col. Victor Llapitan, commander of the 61st Infantry Battalion, said his troops were conducting peace and development activities when they were attacked by members of Tugalbong Platoon, Central Front, Komiteng Rehiyonal-Panay.
“We engaged the NPA bandits which resulted to the death of one of our soldiers. Our troops are there to help the local government unit (LGU) in assisting the people to resolve the issues in their community and to further improve their lives,” said Llapitan.
The slain soldier was identified as Private First Class Lowel John Bravo, 31, of Brgy Aguisan, Himamaylan City, Negros Occidental.