Gun battle between Army, NPA in Moises Padilla

BACOLOD City – A soldier was slightly wounded after members of the Army’s 62nd Infantry Battalion (62IB) traded shots with the New People’s Army (NPA) at Sitio Santos-santos, Barangay Quintin Remo, in Moises Padilla, Negros Occidental on April 2019.

Brigadier Gen. Benedict Arevalo, 303rd Infantry Brigade (303IB) commander, said 62IB troopers were conducting hot pursuit operations against the rebels suspected for the murder of Moises Padilla town Councilor Jolomar Hilario when the clash occurred.

Arevalo said the encounter took place at around 9:20 a.m. Monday as the 62IB troopers spotted more or less 20 NPA members.

The fight lasted for about an hour before the rebels retreated.

The 303IB commander believes the rebels suffered casualties due to “blood trails” in their escape route.

Arevalo also confirmed that around 200 residents in the area were evacuated, and a nearby school was forced to cancel its graduation ceremony due to the battle.

He further added Hilario’s murder could have been a retaliatory strike by the rebels after the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police arrested National Democratic Front spokesperson Ka Frank Fernandez last week.

The NDF is considered the political arm of the rebels.