By Jennifer P. Rendon
The Philippine Army’s 3rd Infantry Division has identified the three rebels who died during an encounter with members of the 61st Infantry Battalion at Leon, Iloilo on Sept. 29.
One of whom was Rebecca Alfaro alias Jing, a native of Cabatuan, Iloilo and the secretary of NPA’s Kometing Rehiyon-Panay (KR-P)’s Southern Front (SF).
Lieutenant Colonel J-Jay Javines, 3rd ID spokesperson, said the other two slain rebels were Jimmy Macuana, who hailed from Sibalom, Antique and a member of SF’s Suyak Platoon, and Gerly Tejeros alias Elay, a resident of Barangay Bagumbayan, Tigbauan, Iloilo and 2nd deputy education/medical staff of KTP-SF
Javines cited multiple sources and records in coming up with their identification.
It can be noted that the bodies of the slain rebels were recovered following a firefight at the hinterland village of Cagay at around 9:52 a.m. on Friday.
The troops encountered around 12 rebels headed by Alfaro and Roberto Gomia alias Toto, commander of the KR-P’s Regional Operations Command (ROC). It was followed by a 30-minute gun battle.
The rebels later withdrew towards the northeast direction and left the bodies of their comrades.
The military subsequently recovered two M16 Armalite rifles, five magazines (short-type) and a long-type magazine for an M16 rifle, two bandoliers, five backpacks, two NPA flags, personal belongings, and voluminous subversive documents with high-intelligence value.
Several hours later, another encounter happened at Barangay Nalbang, Leon, another hinterland village around 10 kilometers away from Cagay.
The group of 10 rebels from the Sibat Platoon of KR-FP’s SF was led by Nahum Camariosa alias Bebong, the commander of Front Operations Command (FOC), and Jennel Tacaisan alias Rico, Squad 3 leader of Sibat Platoon.
A 12-minute firefight ensued before the rebels retreated.
Recovered from the encounter site were an M16A1 rifle, three magazines and five short-type magazines for M16 rifles, 164 rounds (5.56mm ball), and a bandolier.
In both instances, Captain Mark Ryan Espejo, 61st IB spokesperson, said their troops responded to reports coming from concerned local residents on the presence of armed men who were allegedly conducting extortion activities and demanding food supplies.
The two armed engagements marked the sixth and seventh armed encounters in Leon, Iloilo between the 61IB and the local communists for this quarter alone.
Lieutenant Colonel Arturo Balgos Jr., 61st IB commander, has called on the remaining NPAs, especially those wounded personalities to surrender, lay down their arms, and return to the folds of law.
He encouraged them to avail of the Enhanced–Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E- CLIP) and other sustainable livelihood programs from the government intended for rebel returnees.
He also lauded the troops for their strong dedication and bravery in fighting these lawless elements that resulted in the successful encounters.
“Ang aming patuloy na focus military operations at dedikasyon ng ating mga tropa na tugusin itong mga komunistang terroristang grupo at ang kooperasyon at suporta ng mga taga nayon ang naging malaking instrumento sa ating mga matagumpay na operasyon,” he said.
Balgos also assured of the continuous internal security operations in the area.