Airforce augments military ops in central Negros

Families claim on Monday the remains of the four alleged NPA rebels who were killed in a clash with military troopers in Barangay Trinidad, Guihulngan City, Negros Oriental last Sunday. (Photo courtesy of 62nd IB)

By Glazyl Y. Masculino

BACOLOD City – The Philippine Air Force (PAF) extended support to the Focused Military Operations (FMO) of the Army’s 62nd Infantry Battalion (IB) two days after the series of encounters against the New People’s Army (NPA) in Negros island over the weekend.

For the aerial reconnaissance, PAF utilized its S-70i CUH Blackhawk and one element AW109 to fly over the areas of central Negros on May 21.

They also helped the 62nd IB in dropping off information materials of the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) to intensify information operations in the hinterlands of Moises Padilla in Negros Occidental and Guihulngan City in Negros Oriental.

This is to fully inform the local populace about the government programs, especially NPA combatants who will voluntarily return to the folds of the law, according to the 62nd IB.

The weekend clashes in Moises Padilla town and Guihulngan City resulted in the death of nine NPA rebels, and the recovery of some firearms, ammunition, and other war materiel.

According to the 62nd IB, the Guihlungan City Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (GCTF-ELCAC) provided the burial requirements for the four fatalities, while their families were given food packs by the City Social Welfare and Development (CSWD).

The City Agriculture also distributed fertilizers, and each family was given P3,000 cash assistance. The GCTF-ELCAC also facilitated the transportation of these cadavers to their barangays.

Another rebel was also killed in a clash with the 15th IB in Barangay Caliling, Cauayan, Negros Occidental on May 21.

1st Lieutenant Weann Sandag, 15th IB civil military operations (CMO) officer, said the casualty was identified by his former comrades as a certain “Judy” or “Joem.”

Sandag said they will bury the remains of the casualty if the family fails to claim his remains within three days.

When asked for a reaction regarding the advisory of the NPA claiming that the Cauayan clash was fake, Sandag maintained that it was a legitimate encounter.

She said that barangay officials and the people can attest to it, considering that the Army had a mobile community sustainment program as part of their community support program (CSP) when they responded to a report regarding the presence of armed men in the area.

Sandag said that telling it as a “fake encounter” is always the propaganda of the NPA.

Meanwhile, troopers of the 11th IB also clashed with NPA rebels in Barangay Talalak, Sta Catalina, Negros Oriental on May 16, resulting in the recovery of two anti-personnel landmines (APL), two rolls of 30 meters wire used for APL, one .38 caliber pistol, six rounds of live ammunition, a cartridge of 40mm grenade launcher, subversive documents, and other personal belongings.