By: Glazyl Y. Masculino
BACOLOD City – The Roselyn Jean Pelle Command of the New People’s Army (RJPC-NPA) said no encounter happened between the Army’s 79th Infantry Battalion (IB) and the NPA at Sitio Maitom, Barangay Old Poblacion, Escalante City, Negros Occidental last Sept 17, 2019.
Cecil Estrella, spokesperson of (RJPC-NPA), in a press statement, said the 79th IB and the 303rd Infantry Brigade (IBde) are desperate to report any kind of “accomplishment.”
Estrella said the Army officials have been “spewing black propaganda to conjure the scenario” of planned “NPA attacks” in Escalante City this September.
Estrella said the two persons arrested by the Army after the alleged clash last Tuesday are not members of the rebel group.
These alleged NPA members were identified by the Army as Jomar Agustin of Barangay Salamangca, Toboso town; and his alleged girlfriend Revely Tayab of Barangay Bago, Don Salvador Benedicto town, who both allegedly yielded two .45 caliber pistols with ammunition.
Agustin was identified by the police as an alleged Special Partisan Unit (Sparu) member of the Northern Negros Front (NNF), and has a previous murder case for allegedly killing a police officer and a police asset in the city in 2013.
Both suspects are now under the custody of Escalante City Police Station for filing of the appropriate charges.
According to the military, the 10-minute firefight erupted when personnel of the 79th IB encountered seven armed men while they were conducting combat operations at the said village to prevent the supposed plan of the rebel group to sabotage the three-day peace summit in the city on September 19 to 21 to commemorate the 34th year of the Escalante Massacre.
The recent clash resulted in the evacuation of 521 village residents, who already returned to their respective homes yesterday, after the area was already cleared of possible threats from the armed group.