Nine rebels killed, hundreds displaced in weekend clashes

At least 800 individuals were displaced following a series of clashes that killed five NPA rebels in Barangay Quintin Remo, Moises Padilla, Negros Occidental Saturday. (Photo courtesy of 62nd IB)

By Glazyl Y. Masculino

BACOLOD City – The Army’s 303rd Infantry Brigade (IBde) claimed that nine suspected members of the New People’s Army (NPA) were killed, while 212 families composed of 819 individuals were displaced following a series of clashes with government forces in Negros island over the weekend.

The series of clashes first erupted in Moises Padilla in Negros Occidental, killing five NPA rebels in Barangay Quintin Remo last Saturday.

According to the Army, troopers of the 62nd Infantry Battalion (IB) encountered at least 14 rebels at Sitio Napiluan around 5:05 a.m. while they were conducting combat operations in response to information regarding the alleged planned atrocities of the NPA rebels in the towns of Moises Padilla and La Castellana in Negros Occidental.

Another firefight ensued between the soldiers and six NPA rebels at Sitio Oway-Oway, about 40 minutes later.

It was followed by another five-minute clash when the blocking team of the 62nd IB monitored the fleeing rebels at the same sitio.

Recovered from the encounter site were an M16 rifle, two .38 caliber pistols, a KG9 machine pistol with magazine assembly, a UZI machine pistol with magazine assembly, two homemade 12 gauge shotguns, four rifle grenade ammunition, four .38 caliber live ammunition, a 12 gauge ammunition, two magazines of .45 caliber, two baofeng radios, a cellular phone, 15 backpacks, a bandolier, an NPA flag, various medical paraphernalia, food supplies, other war materiel, and personal belongings.

The series of clashes prompted several families to evacuate from their houses, according to Captain Melvin Rosal, civil military operations officer of 303rd IBde.

The evacuees were secured in Barangay Sebucauan, Isabela town, and Barangay Quintin Remo. These evacuees were given food packs from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and later returned to their respective houses.

The 62nd IB, in collaboration with Moises Padilla Task Force To End Local Communist Armed Conflict (MPTF-ELCAC), DSWD, and Moises Padilla Municipal Police Station conducted Localized Peace Engagement with the residents of Barangay Quintin Remo, to enlighten them about the NPA atrocities, and their other activities.

They were also encouraged to help the NPA rebels, especially those wounded personalities to voluntarily surrender to be given proper medical treatment, and avail the benefits of the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP), and other programs from National Task Force-ELCAC.

The following day, a 20-minute encounter occurred in Guihulngan City, Negros Oriental, killing four NPA rebels.

Rosal said there was no reported evacuation in Guihulngan City.

The Army has yet to identify all the slain rebels.