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HomeProvincial NewsArmy, Reds in tit for tat as skirmishes ebb in the countryside

Army, Reds in tit for tat as skirmishes ebb in the countryside

BACOLOD CITY, Negros Occidental, Philippines – The Philippine Army and Communist rebels are engaging in a renewed propaganda war as armed encounters ebb in the countryside post the May polls.

The Army, however, has taken to highlighting projects under the Barangay Development Program in Negros island, including a road network that cuts through a former rebel stronghold in the Oriental Negros city of Guihulngan as one of its ranking officers said the New People’s Army might be purging its ranks anew.

“It is a possibility that they are killing their own,” Brigadier General Innocencio Pasaporte, commander of the 303rd Infantry Brigade, told DNX after an NPA command belied Army claims that soldiers clashed with remnants of a guerrilla front in Calatrava town.

Pasaporte added the series of losses the rebels have sustained in successive encounters during the 90-day election period that started in February 2022 have pushed their leaders to panic in looking for, and blaming, information leaks from within.

The Roselyn Jean Pelle Command-Northern Negros Guerilla Front of the NPA said the soldiers did not clash with their fighters in the upland village of Minapasuk last week, 22 June 2022.

Front deputy spokesperson Karljoe Hidalgo said in a press statement dated 24 June 2022 that there were no fighters in the area and claimed they have already known the presence of 79th Infantry Battalion soldiers in several sub villages.

Hidalgo also said the NPA has monitored rights violations committed by the soldiers, among these assaults, threats and intimidation of civilians.

No added details were given.

The Army, on the other hand, had been highlighting the inauguration of an 18.5 kilometer farm to market road that cuts across the mountain villages of Trinidad and Hilaitan, described by Pasaporte as former rebel lairs.

The project was built under the Barangay Development Program (BDP) of the National Task Force-End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) and funded by the World Bank.

The inauguration was attended by outgoing Oriental Negros Governor Roel Degamo and many local officials and Army officers.

Also last week, the Army reported a two-day motorcycle ride organized by the Guihulngan City ELCAC which it described as “victorious.”

“The peaceful communities and progress of tourism in Guihulngan City prove that this place is leading to an insurgency-free city,” a release from 62nd Infantry Battalion information officer, 2nd Lt. Mary Joy De Guzman, said.

At least five reported encounters took place from April to May 2022, some in the city of Himamaylan and Candoni town in the south of this province.

Julius D. Mariveles
Julius D. Mariveles
An amateur cook who has a mean version of humba, the author has recently tried to make mole negra, the Mexican sauce he learned by watching shows of master chef Rick Bayless. A journalist since 19, he has worked in the newsrooms of radio, local papers, and Manila-based news organizations. A stroke survivor, he now serves as executive editor of DNX.
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