Two soldiers killed, six wounded in another Himamaylan clash

Military troopers seized a firearm, ammunition, and other war materiels while conducting pursuit operations on Friday against the NPA rebels following a series of clashes in Barangay Carabalan, Himamaylan City, Negros Occidental Friday. (Photo courtesy of 303rd IBde)

By Glazyl Y. Masculino

BACOLOD City – The local government and the Army’s 303rd Infantry Brigade (IBde) condemned the series of alleged atrocities at Barangay Carabalan, Himamaylan City, Negros Occidental, following the death of two soldiers last Saturday.

The deadly clash was part of a series of encounters with suspected New People’s Army (NPA) in the said village since Oct. 6, 2022, which resulted in the evacuation of at least 700 residents.

Personnel of the 94th Infantry Battalion (IB) were conducting a pursuit operation against fleeing armed NPA rebels, whom they first encountered twice in the village last Thursday when another clash occurred last Saturday, leaving two soldiers dead and six others wounded.

According to the Army, the troops were maneuvering to assault the identified enemy position when the enemies allegedly fired against them.

The wounded soldiers are confined in a private hospital here.

A day prior to the deadly clash, the 62nd IB also encountered NPA rebels in the village last Friday and seized a firearm, ammunition, and other war materiel while conducting pursuit operations.

These were a .45 caliber firearm, two magazines and nine rounds of ammunition of .45 caliber firearm, and a backpack with high intelligence value.

Mayor Raymund Tongson Jr., in a statement, said the exchanges of gunfire have put the lives of the people in great danger, disrupted their livelihood, and disturbed the peaceful existence of the constituents and their families forcing them to leave their houses, and means of livelihood, and seek temporary shelters in various evacuation centers.

“We want peace and progress to reign in our city. Thus, the city government continues to work for the betterment and development which will redound to the benefit of our people,” Tongson said.

The provincial government also mourned the loss of the two soldiers.

Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson offered his sincerest condolences to the families of the two fallen soldiers.

“They lost their lives in action, in the pursuit of peace for the province, and for the security of the people of Himamaylan and Negros Occidental,” the governor said.

What our two heroes did for the country, the province, and our people is the highest form of bravery, sacrifice, and patriotism that we must always honor and must never forget, Lacson said.

He said they also pray for the speedy recovery of the six wounded soldiers and for the fulfilment of genuine peace and harmony in the province.

Meanwhile, Brigadier General Inocencio Pasaporte, 303rd IBde commander, expressed his sympathies to the families of the two fallen soldiers.

Pasaporte recognized the heroism and gallantry of the two fallen soldiers, who paid the ultimate sacrifice for the peace and security of Himamaylan City and Negros island.

“Despite the loss of our heroic soldiers, the Army in Negros will remain steadfast in defending the peace against the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP)-NPA,” the 303rd IBde said.

Pasaporte said the series of encounters stopped the NPA from executing their plans against the indigent communities in the hinterland of Himamaylan, particularly alleged intimidation and extortion activities.

“We are confident that the Himamaylanons will work hand-in-hand with the government to attain peace and development in their area,” he added.

Lieutenant Colonel Van Donaldo Almonte, 94th IB commander, said his men offered their lives for the sake of peace in Himamaylan City and in the entire nation. Their dedication to duty is beyond compare, he added.

He also condoled with the families and loved ones of the two fallen soldiers. “They will forever be a part of the MANDIRIGMA family. I will make sure that their sacrifices will be paid by the attainment of peace in Himamaylan City,” he said.

The 94th IB vowed that it will remain steadfast in the war against the NPAs and their supporters.

We will achieve peace for we believe that a greater number of Himamaylanons support our cause to make their communities free from control and threat by the Communist Terrorists Group, Almonte said.

Let this incident serve as an eye-opener to the other barangays of Himamaylan City. We will continue our mission and we will continue to pursue the NPA in Himamaylan City, he added.