By Glazyl Y. Masculino
BACOLOD City – Two suspected members of the New People’s Army (NPA) were reportedly killed, while 32 families were displaced in a series of clashes with government forces in Barangay Macagahay, Moises Padilla, Negros Occidental yesterday.
The Army has yet to identify the slain rebels.
The first firefight lasted for about 20 minutes between the troopers of the Army’s 62nd Infantry Battalion (IB) and six NPA members.
It was followed by another 15-minute clash at Sitio Cupad against the blocking force of the 62nd IB.
Another platoon of the 62nd IB engaged in another encounter with the fleeing NPA rebels at Sitio Mantauyan.
The 62nd IB launched combat operations after receiving information about the alleged presence of an armed group in Barangay Macagahay.
No casualties were reported on the government side, while two bodies of the enemies were discovered after the series of clashes.
The military recovered an M16 rifle, a 12-gauge shotgun, a .38 caliber revolver, four short magazine assemblies for M16, two rounds of serviceable ammunition for the shotgun, six rounds of serviceable ammunition for the .38 caliber revolver, 79 rounds of 5.56mm ball ammunition for the M16, a rifle grenade, two bandoliers, binoculars, two backpacks, two sling bags, and a power bank from the encounter sites.
The evacuees are temporarily sheltered at the Barangay Macagahay Evacuation Center. The local government has provided them with food packs.
These clashes occurred less than a month after government forces encountered NPA rebels in Barangay Quintin Remo, Moises Padilla town, and in Barangay Trinidad, Guihulngan City, Negros Oriental, resulting in the deaths of nine NPA rebels.
Meanwhile, the 62nd IB is appealing to the people and urging wounded and fleeing rebels to voluntarily surrender, as the government forces will continue to hunt them down to ensure and sustain peace and development in Central Negros.