BACOLOD CITY, Negros Occidental, Philippines – Red fighters and Communist cadres from two fronts in Negros island were gathered in the upland village of Carabalan in Himamaylan City when soldiers of the 94th Battalion rudely interrupted them, so to speak, early in the morning of March 2023.
The possible plenum, that could have included top and ranking cadres of the Communist Party of the Philippines, came ahead of the New People’s Army’s founding anniversary on the 29th of this month, and left four rebels dead and a soldier wounded.
The commander of the 94th Infantry Battalion, Lieutenant Colonel Von Donald Almonte, told DNX the firearms left by the rebela at the clash site indicate an armed force of the NPA that is superior to a front guerrilla force was with the armed rebels the 94th clashed with in the sub-village near the community where top NPA commander Juanito Magbanua was slain last year.
Among those seized by troopers were two AK47 battle rifles, two M16 assault rifles, and two M203 grenade launchers.
Almonte said these weapons indicate a more specialized group of fighters like the Regional Strike Force, a guerrilla unit that is usually a platoon in size and directly under the regional leadership committee of the Communist Party.
303rd Infantry Brigade commander, Colonel Orlando Edralin, had also disclosed earlier that the RSF could have been present during the clash as indicated by the lengthy defensive action of around 20 minutes during the first clash.
Almonte said the recovered personal belongings also showed guerrillas from the Central Negros Front 1, the parent front founded by former top Negros Communist, ex priest Frank Fernandez, were with the NPA unit in Carabalan that is under the Central Negros Front 2.