BACOLOD CITY, Negros Occidental, Philippines – The spokesman of the Army’s 3rd Infantry Division today said the New People’s Army has more firearms than Red fighters, an encounter in the hinterlands of Oriental Negros town today indicated.
Army Major Cenon Pancito III told DNX this could be largely due to the “mass surrender” of Red fighters in the island amid the government’s continuing counter-insurgency and development campaign led by the Whole of Nation Initiative.
The NPA’s Leonardo Panaligan Command was sought for comment by DNX but has yet to reply.
Past midnight today, the 11th Infantry Battalion reported five alleged rebels were killed in a gunbattle in Mabinay town, Oriental Negros, more than 100 kilometers south from here.
11th IB officer, Capt. Francis Salcedo, said the heavy firefight took place in the upland sub-village of Talingting, Luyag village around 12:45 am, 18 June 2020.
Salcedo said joint elements composed of soldiers from the 11th and 94th battalions, and policemen from the Regional Mobile Force 7 were deployed to the area following reports that a subject of an arrest warrant was among groups of armed men inside two houses.
The warrant was issued by Judge Rosario Cariaga whose court sala is based in Bais City, also in Oriental Negros.
Salcedo said government troops were approaching the houses when they were met by gunfire.
This prompted them to fire back, he added.
After about 30 minutes, hostilitues ceased and among the dead bodies was a man “initially” identified as Sayas Ribilista.
Salcedo did not indicate the specific crime the warrant was issued for.
Soldiers also seized five assault rifles, three M16s and an AK47, a pistol and bullets.
An Improvised Explosive Device (IED) was also recovered.
Lieutenant Colonel Ramir J Redosendo said the tip off given by village officials and local residents show that people “do not want to be deceived again by the lies of these NPA terrorists.”
He also praised residents of the sitio “for reporting the presence of armed men in their area, and I urge the people of Negros Oriental to continue reporting the presence of these NPA terrorists in their communities for us to prevent their terroristic activities.”