Army, cops alerted after 8 rebels killed in Negros Oriental clash

Military recovered 11 high-powered firearms, six M16 rifles, two M14 rifles, one M60, one KG9, two improvised explosive device (IED), IED wire, six M14 magazine with ammunition, two backpacks, and documents with high intelligence value, following a clash with suspected rebels at Barangay Trinidad, Guihulngan City, Negros Oriental Tuesday. (Photo courtesy of 303rd Infantry Brigade)

By Glazyl Y. Masculino

 

BACOLOD City – The Philippine Army and the local police are on full alert for the possible retaliation of the New People’s Army (NPA), after eight suspected rebels were killed in a clash against the military troopers at Barangay Trinidad, Guihulngan City, Negros Oriental last Tuesday.

Major Cenon Pancito III, spokesperson of Army’s 3rd Infantry Division (ID), said they are always ready to fight the NPA, adding that they have all the advantage in terms of war-fighting capabilities and equipment.

All patrol bases of the Army and the police were also alerted for the upcoming Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP)-NPA anniversary on March 29.

Pancito said the encounter happened while personnel of the Army’s 62nd Infantry Battalion (IB) responded to a report on the alleged presence of unidentified armed men at Sitio Agit around 12:55 p.m.

The soldiers engaged in a three-hour firefight with about 40 individuals believed to be members of the SDG platoon and SYG platoon of Central Negros 1, Komiteng Rehiyon Negros, Cebu, Bohol, and Siquijor (KR – NCBS), prompting some residents to evacuate for their safety. However, Pancito has not yet received the report on the number of evacuees.

Pancito said no injuries were reported on the government side.

Military recovered from the encounter site 11 high-powered firearms, six M16 rifles, two M14 rifles, one M60, one KG9, two improvised explosive device (IED), IED wire, six M14 magazine with ammunition, two backpacks, and documents.

Pancito said they have deployed additional forces on the ground to conduct clearing and pursuit operations, and to be utilized as blocking forces. Checkpoint operations in key areas will also be conducted

Pancito said the Army also previously had several clashes with the rebels at the said village, and they attributed it to the cooperation of the community that gave them information about the rebels’ presence in the area.

“We cannot guard every inch of the territory of Negros island, but with these gaps, this is a big help from the people for us to specifically locate the armed men,” he added.

Meanwhile, Pancito said that with the number of causalities in the encounter, they expect that there will be an attempt to malign the Army.

But he noted that they have evidence to prove that those were terrorists and are capable of killing the government forces.

Pancito said what they did was to maintain the peace and order situation, as they could not afford to have the losing ground.

For his part, Major General Eric Vinoya, 3rd ID commander, in a statement, said the tragic death of the eight alleged NPA members is an urgent warning to the remaining members of the group to lay down their arms, or they will suffer the same fate.

Meanwhile, personnel of the Bacolod City Police Office (BCPO) and the Negros Occidental Police Provincial Office (Nocppo) here are reminded to stay vigilant and be ready for any eventualities.

Police Lieutenant Abegael Donasco, Nocppo’s deputy information officer, said the provincial police force was reminded to never post anything on social media on real time, as the enemies are just waiting for opportunities to strike.

Although there was no rebel threat monitored in the province, Donasco said that personnel of police stations in high-risk areas were advised not to lower their guards and to strengthen their monitoring.

“Pinag-iingat and pinaghahanda talaga ang lahat na kapulisan,” she added.