BACOLOD CITY, Negros Occidental, Philippines – An Army commander in the island has confirmed one government trooper was wounded as a rifle unit of the 15th Battalion clashed twice with suspected armed guerrillas of the New People’s Army in the upland community of Malipayon yesterday, 18 January 2023.
Brigadier General Luis Peña, who heads the 302nd Brigade, told DNX the trooper was wounded during a clash yesterday though he did not specify if it was during the 11am or 5pm gunfight that occured in San Jose village where the millsite of the Maricalum Mining Corporation was once located.
No additional details were given about the casualty except thst he is beungvtreated for his wounds.
Sipalay, at least 165 kilometers south of here, is famous for its white sand beaches and beautiful coves and is known as a resort city in the sugar capital of the Philippines.
Pena said the 15th Battalion unit first clashed with an estimated 20 armed fighters around near noontime after the the battalion deployed a unit to verify information from villagers who reported the extortion activities of the rebels.
The local social welfare office reported the evacuation of at least 500 residents from Malipayon that the police chief described to be far from the city proper.
Last night, Major Bryan Sagayadoro said they have housed and secured several families at the baaketball court of San Jose proper.
City Social Welfare and Development officer in charge, Ivy Gallenero, on the other hand, said around 530 individuals or 113 families stayed at Binulig Elementary School.
Camp Montelibano, on the other hand, reported the firefight was between a platoon of Army soldiers under the Bravo Company and guerrillas under the South West Front of the New People’s Army.
The report added the enciunter site is about 40 kilometers from the city proper and happened along the Camalandaan and Baclao, villages that border Sipalay with the town of Cauayan as reported by Emmanuel Edson Jamandre, a police staff sergeant who probed initial reports of the firefight.
Maricalum Mining Corporation has a tailings pond in Baclao and had been once the subject of condemnation from the underground Left and aboveground groups the military had consistently identified as legal fronts of the Communists.