By: Jennifer P. Rendon
THE Philippine Army foresees more encounters between government forces and members of the New People’s Army (NPA) in the coming weeks.
Captain Cenon Pancito III, 3rd Infantry Division spokesperson, said gun battles are to be expected, as Army troops continually pound the areas where suspected rebels were sighted.
“The support we got from the people is overwhelming. It’s through the information they sent us that we were able to track down the whereabouts of these rebels,” he claimed.
Cenon claimed that they have “disturbed” the NPA’s lair and forced them to engage with the troops.
“But eventually, we still want them to yield and join the mainstream of the society. I hope they would heed our call to join the government in our call for peace,” he said.
Since Sept. 20, three armed encounters happened between the NPA rebels and members of the 61st Infantry Battalion.
Last Friday’s clash happened at Barangay Ongyod, Miag-ao, Iloilo.
No one was hurt from the government side and at least two from the rebels.
“They find it hard to extract their wounded comrade that’s why they initiated the harassment in Maasin town on Monday,” Pancito said.
The NPA allegedly wanted to divert the attention of the troops in Miag-ao town, initiating the harassment at a detachment in Maasin.
The rebels apparently fired haphazardly at a distance of more than 100 meters.
Noel Manate, a CAFGU Active Auxiliary, was wounded.
He was brought and treated at Ramon Tabiana Memorial District Hospital in Cabatuan town.
An hour after the Maasin encounter, the rebels and soldiers clashed anew at Ongyod village.
It left one rebel killed. The body was identified as Vincent Yoverl alias Denden, a member of Squad 1 of the NPA’s Suyak Platoon, Southern Front in the Komiteng Rehiyon – Panay (KR-P).
The soldiers also recovered an M16 rifle (serial number RP185783), four backpacks with personal belongings, an improvised explosive devised, a detonator, three blasting caps, a scope, two mobile phones, a charge, four NPA shirts, a transistor radio, medical kits, and subversive documents.