By Glazyl Y. Masculino
BACOLOD City – The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)-6 has extended P50,000 cash assistance to the families of five alleged members of the New People’s Army (NPA) killed in a clash with government forces in Kabankalan City, Negros Occidental last week.
The distribution of the cash assistance was held at the City Social Welfare and Development Office (CSWDO) in the presence of Mayor Benjie Miranda and 1Lt. Charmaine Sancho, civil military operations (CMO) officer of the Army’s 47th Infantry Battalion (IB) last Monday.
Each family received P10,000 to aid them with the burial expenses.
The Army has earlier identified the fatalities in the clash as alleged members of Samahang Yunit Propaganda (SYP), Southwest Front (SWF)-Komiteng Rehiyon-Negros, Cebu, Bohol, Siquijor (KR-NCBS) led by a certain Alejo Delos Reyes, alias “Peter/Bravo,” squad leader of Squad 2 of SYP Platoon 3, his wife Melissa Dela Peña, alias “Diane,” Bobby Pedro, alias “Recoy,” vice squad leader of Squad 3 in the same platoon, Mario Fajardo Mullon, alias “Reco/Goring,” medic of Squad 1 from the same platoon, Janice Flores, a medic, and Ruben Gaitan.
But Lieutenant Colonel J-Jay Javines, head of the 3rd Infantry Division Public Affairs Office (DPAO), made some clarifications yesterday regarding the names of the two fatalities.
Javines said that Flores was identified by her family as Janesa Malasabas Romano, while Delos Reyes was identified as Pedro Pillar Jabalde.
The Army also has initially named a certain Marjon Alvior alias “Kenneth,” an alleged vice squad leader of Squad 2, SYP Platoon 3, but they later clarified that he was not one of the fatalities in the encounter.
The encounter broke out at Purok Lubi, Barangay Tabugon on September 21, when military troopers responded to a tip-off on the presence of armed persons allegedly extorting food from some residents in the area.
But the NPA claimed that it was not an encounter but a “massacre” of their three medical personnel, a tricycle driver, and a couple, who was on medical leave because the wife was pregnant.
The Army insisted that it was a legitimate encounter and said that they are open to any investigation about the incident.
Meanwhile, aside from the cash assistance, DSWD-6 also shouldered the expenses for the funeral services of the casualties.
The local government also gave cash assistance and food packs to Gaitan’s family. Likewise other local government units, where the casualties reside, also provided burial assistance to their respective constituents.
Javines said that the 47th IB will reach out to Jabalde’s family to turn over the cash assistance, since they already went home in Guihulngan City, Negros Oriental.