A suspected communist rebel died while four others, including a minor, were captured when Philippine Army (PA) soldiers foiled an attempt of the New People’s Army (NPA) to disrupt a relief operation for the victims of typhoon “Odette” in Guihulngan, Negros Oriental over the weekend.
Lt. Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr., Army commanding general, said troops from the 62nd Infantry Battalion (62IB) under the 3rd Infantry Division (3ID) prevented the planned extortion and relief effort disruption of suspected members of the Central Negros 1, Komiteng Rehiyon – Negros, Cebu, Bohol, Siquijor (KR-NCBS) in Sitio Manlibod, Brgy. Sandayao, Guihulngan City last Saturday, Jan. 15.
A military report from the 62IB said the troops responded to a tip from a civilian about the presence of around 12 armed rebels in the area while Army personnel were distributing medicines and financial assistance to members of the 24 CAFGU Active Auxilliary (CAA) units that were affected by “Odette” in Guihulngan City.
At the time, Lt. Col. Melvin Flores, 62IB commander, was on the ground and ordered some of his men to pull out from the relief operations to conduct security operations.
“While in Imelda Patrol Base and Sandayao Patrol Base, a concerned civilian gave information to the Army that there are armed group in Brgy. Sandayao purposely to conduct extortion to the residents thereat and to hinder the LGUs’ [local government units] support to the typhoon-affected areas,” Flores said.
True enough, the soldiers encountered the armed group in the hinterlands of Brgy. Sandayao which lasted for about five minutes.
After the brief firefight, the troops conducted clearing operations where they discovered the body of a suspected rebel and captured four others, including a minor. Their identities were not disclosed by the military.
Brawner condemned the NPA’s “continued manipulation and exploitation of minors which is a blatant violation of International Humanitarian Law.”
The troops also recovered a KG9 rifle with a magazine loaded with 23 bullets, a caliber .45 pistol, a backpack, various ammunition, and personal documents.
Meanwhile, other members of the rebel group withdrew towards the northwest direction of Brgy. Sandayao and left their wounded and killed comrades at the encounter site.
Two of the captured suspects were brought to the Guihulngan City District Hospital after they sustained gunshot wounds in their bodies while the minor was turned over to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).
On the other hand, the body of the slain suspect was handed over to the Guihulngan City Police Station for proper disposition.