By: Glazyl Y. Masculino
BACOLOD City – Three soldiers were injured after clashing with suspected New Peoples Army (NPA) at Sitio Puting Bato, Barangay Minautok, Calatrava, Negros Occidental early Wednesday.
Members of the 79th Infantry Battalion (IB) of the Philippine Army were responding to reports on the alleged presence of armed men at the area when they encountered about 30 suspected rebels at 5:30 a.m.
The firefight lasted for about an hour.
Brigadier General Benedict Arevalo, commander of 303rd Infantry Brigade (IBde) based in Murcia town, said the three soldiers, whose names were withheld, sustained slight abrasions on the hands caused by shrapnel from M203.
They were all rushed to a hospital and are already stable.
Meanwhile, the military troops believed that five rebels were allegedly killed in the clash as theres bloodstains found in the enemies positions and based on the reports from the locals.
But it is still subject for verification, Arevalo said.
Recovered from the encounter site were a magazine with eight ammunition for Garrand Carbine rifle, three cellular phones, a pair of boots, hammock, and food.
Lieutenant Colonel Emelito Thaddeus Logan, commander of 79th IB, said, the continuous encounters against the terrorist NPAs in the area proved that the communities no longer wanted the enemies presence there.
The 79th IB will relentlessly pursue the NPAs and stop their illegal and extortion activities. Nonetheless, the Army gives chance for them (NPA) to surrender peacefully and enjoy the governments offer towards living normal lives again with their families, he added.
This is the second encounter in Calatrava town since April 17 at Barangay Marcelo where 3 rebels were killed.