By Jennifer P. Rendon
Members of the Philippine Army’s 61st Infantry Battalion engaged with suspected New People’s Army (NPA) members in a firefight afternoon of September 7 in Tubungan, Iloilo.
Captain Mark Ryan Espejo, 61st IB Civil Military Office (CMO) head, said the clash reportedly happened around 2 p.m. of Thursday at the boundary of Cadabdab and Bato, both hinterland villages of Tubungan.
The area is more than 10 kilometers from the two proper.
The Army troops proceeded to the area after receiving information about the presence of five armed persons who are believed to be NPA rebels.
“We believe that, as usual, they are doing extortion activities in the area,” Espejo said.
He added that they’re still confirming reports that the group has tried to mulct money or goods from candidates.
But Espejo said he was informed that the troops recovered a landmine and some personal belongings.
“There are no casualties on the government side but we could not determine if there are fatalities on the enemy’s side,” he said.
It was the fifth encounter this year of the 61st IB with the local terrorists.
The first four armed clashes happened in Leon town.
The last Leon encounter on July 29 saw the death of two suspected rebels.