BACOLOD CITY, Negros Occidental, Philippines – Two Army battalions in the island reported the first battlefield kills and capture of rebels, most believed to be ranking Communist cadres, in the northern and southern parts as 2023 headed for its third week.
Camp Gerona reported in separate dispatches the death of two rebels in clashes with the 62nd and 79th Battalions, one in the southern city of Himamaylan, the other in Guihulngan, a Negros Oriental city north of here.
Captain Anthony Berdon, acting civil military operations chief of the 303rd Brigade, said the two firefights that happened on 9 and 10 January 2023 came as a result of information from villagers who are being bothered by rebels extorting food or money from them.
303rd Brigade chief, Colonel Michael Samson, said the series of defeats by the New People’s Army is “a clear indication” that the rebels are losing support from the masses.
“As long as there are remaining armed communists-terrorists that continue to threaten the peacefulness of our communities, your Army in Negros will be relentless in pursuit of the perpetrators of murder, arson, extortion and other atrocities against our localities. The long arm of the law will eventually bring them to the bar of justice,” Samson was quoted by Berdon as saying.
The 9 January firefight occurred in the community of Maliko-liko in the upland village of Carabalan in Himamaylan City.
Berdon said the 94th received information about the presence of armed men believed to be members of the Central Negros Front 2, extorting food and money from the villagers.
The 94th conducted a joint operation with the National Police that led to a clash with at least 10 armed guerrillas who then fled after a brief firefight and left their dead comrade.
Soldiers also found an M14 battle rifle, an M4 carbine, two M16 rifles, a rifle grenade, and magazines and bullets, and documents deemed subversive by the Army.
The following day, the fight shifted north as a rifle unit of the 62nd Battalion clashed with a team of the rebels, around five of them, in Trinidad village in Guihulngan, a city in Negros Oriental province 100 kilometers north from here.
The dispatch said the dead rebel leader was identified as Orlando Fat alias BanBan who was part of the group that clashed with the Army in the community of Bandera Han around 7am.
Fat was identified as the political instructor of Central Negros Front 1 (CN1) under the Komiteng Rehiyon Negros, Cebu, Bohol and Siquijor (KR-NCBS), that operates in the tri-boundaries of Guihulngan City, Canlaon City, both of Negros Oriental and Moises Padilla, Negros Occidental. He is also a resident of Sitio Banderahan.
Soldiers were also able to seize a 45 caliber pistol, ammunitions, rifle accessories, and documents.