By Glazyl Masculino
BACOLOD CITY – About 30 suspected New People’s Army (NPA) militia engaged in a clash with members of the 79th Infantry Battalion (IB) of the Philippine Army which resulted to three injuries on the government forces at Barangay Minautok, Calatrava, Negros Occidental Wednesday morning.
Authorities withheld the names of the wounded soldiers in the meantime.
Brigadier General Benedict Arevalo, commander of 303rd Infantry Brigade (IBde), said the soldiers were conducting combat operations, following reports of the alleged presence of suspected armed men at the said area when the firefight ensued for about an hour.
The three wounded soldiers sustained slight abrasions on their hands caused by shrapnels from M203 grenade.
They are now all in a stable condition at a hospital.
Recovered from the encounter site were a clip with eight ammunition for an M1 Garand rifle, food, and other personal belongings.
Meanwhile, five rebels were believed to have been killed in the clash after bloodstains were found at the enemies’ positions.
However, Arevalo said it is still subject for verification.
This is the second encounter in Calatrava town. It can be recalled that the first clash happened at Barangay Marcelo, where three rebels were killed on April 17.
Lieutenant Colonel Emelito Thaddeus Logan, commander of 79th IB, in a press statement said, “the continuous encounters against the terrorist NPAs in the area proved that the communities no longer wanted the enemies’ presence there.”
“The 79th IB will relentlessly pursue the NPAs and stop their illegal and extortion activities. Nonetheless, the Army gives chance for them (NPA) to surrender peacefully and enjoy the government’s offer towards living normal lives again with their families,” he added.