Three suspected rebels killed in consecutive clashes

By Glazyl Y. Masculino

BACOLOD City – Three individuals, suspected to be members of the New People’s Army (NPA), were killed in successive encounters with military forces in Barangay Pinapugasan, Escalante City, Negros Occidental, yesterday.

Lieutenant Colonel J-jay Javines, head of the Division Public Affairs Office (DPAO) of the Army’s 3rd Infantry Division (ID), confirmed that the casualties included two males and one female. The identities of the deceased have not yet been disclosed.

The conflict ensued when troops from the 79th Infantry Battalion (IB) engaged with eight individuals believed to be remnants of the dismantled Northern Negros Front (NNF).

These individuals were reportedly part of the faction led by Roger Fabillar, alias “Arnel Tapang,” who is wanted for his purported role in a series of killings in Calatrava town and has a P1 million bounty on his head.

Captain Dan Carlo Samoza, the 79th IB’s Civil Military Operations (CMO) officer, reported that the first skirmish occurred around 11 a.m., with a subsequent clash following between 2 to 3 p.m.

Samoza also stated that a pursuit operation is currently underway.

These incidents took place just days after the Roselyn Jean Pelle Command – Northern Negros Guerrilla Front of the NPA (RJPC-NPA) claimed responsibility last Saturday for the February 13th killing of a village councilor’s husband in Barangay Salamanca, Toboso town.