BAGUIO CITY: Government troops pursuing fleeing New People’s Army (NPA) rebels they fought four days ago in Asipulo town in Ifugao are appealing to allow soldiers treat their wounded comrades.
“We value lives although the NPA [rebels]are considered the enemy of the State,” Lt. Col. Nicolas Quemado, commander of the Philippine Army’s 54th Infantry Battalion, said.
On August 14, the government troops and rebels fought for five minutes in Camandag barangay (village).
No one from the government was killed or wounded although the soldiers believed that a number of rebels were wounded.
Army Capt. Jefferson Somera, spokesman for the 54th Infantry, said villagers tipped them off on the presence of the rebels in Camandag, prompting a team of Army troops to head to the area and verify the information.
While closing in, the soldiers were met by volley of gunfire from the rebels, sparking the five-minute firefight.
Overpowered, the communist rebels reportedly withdrew, carrying with them their wounded, Somera said.
A backpack containing personal belongings, numerous medical paraphernalia, medicines, documents, a short magazine for an M16 rifle and an improvised claymore mine were recovered from the clash site.
“We encourage the NPA to leave their wounded comrades to local officials in the town,” Quemado said, adding that they will issue the rebels safe-conduct pass if necessary.
Asipulo is reportedly one of the towns in Ifugao where rebels under the Nona del Rosario Command of the NPA operate, although the military believes that the rebels come from nearby Nueva Vizcaya.
A platoon of soldiers was ambushed by communist guerillas in the same village a few years ago.