BACOLOD CITY, Negros Occidental, Philippines – At least 177 families from upland communities bordering the cities of Kabankalan and Himamaylan fled their homes yesterday after fighting broke out between government soldiers and Communist rebels in Buenavista, a village in Himamaylan City last Thursday, 4 May 2023.
Officials in southern Negros Occidental immediately sent aid for close to 800 villagers from the mountain community of Hilamonan who were sheltered at the village covered court, others in nearby chapels and houses of relatives.
Kabankalan City Mayor Benjie Miranda visited the evacuees Thursday night and had the City Social Welfare and Development Office deliver tents, medicines, and food packs.
Social welfare office head Cyril Ramos told DNX they only had 329 evacuees in n the first night, but more residents left their houses early yesterday morning to ensure their safety as gunbattkes continued between soldiers of the 94th Battalion and a band of guerrillas under the New People’s Army’s Central Negros Front 2.
The Army has confirmed one rebel was found dead and two soldiers were wounded.
Fighting has largely affected the sitios (sub-villages) of Paloypoy, Cotcot, Tapian and Cabangahan.
Ramos said evacuees are now stayimg at the Hilamonan Covered Court while others are in nearby schools and chapels or houses of relatives.
Kabankalan City Mayor Benjie Miranda, also visited the evacuation center last night to ensure people are getting enough assistance like food, tents and medical needs.
The Office of Sixth District Representative Mercedes Alvarez sent food packs.