BACOLOD CITY, Negros Occidental, Philippines – Soldiers and suspected rebels clashed twice yesterday in an upland village in the south here yesterday on the start of the 45-day campaign for local candidates.
Army Captain Kim Apitong said in a news release that troopers of the 94th Infantry Battalion’s Community Support Program first clashed with the Communist rebels around 9:40am yesterday, 25 March 2022 in Lonoy, a sub-village in the mountain community of Carabalan in Himamaylan, a city 78 kilometers south of here.
Himamaylan is one of 13 areas in the province under the orange category of the current hotspot list.
Under the Category orange or area of immediate concern, the poll body says there is a presence of private armed group that could pose serious armed threat.
Apitong, Third Infantry Division spox, said residents informed CSP soldiers, who were in the nearby sub-village of Tigbao that the rebels were extorting food from them.
The soldiers went to Lonoy and found the rebels that led to the clash and the fleeing of the suspected guerrillas.
Three hours after the first clash, around 12 noon, soldiers under the Bravo Team saw the fleeing rebels that led to another skirmish and possible casualties on the side of the (Communist Party-New People’s Army) based on the bloodstains seen in their withdrawal routes,” Apitong added.
The release added the rebels left among other items a generator, two improvised explosive devices, two rifle grenades, a bandolier with four magazines, and ammunition magazines and bullets.
The rebels also left behind 100 kilos of rice, it added.
Major General Benedict M Arevalo, 3ID Commander said that the encounter is a strong indication that the Army in Central and Western Visayas is serious in our campaign against insurgency.
“The encounter will significantly disrupt their extortion schemes and support system. Likewise, it will serve as an eye-opener to all rebels who still refuse to surrender that this is the perfect time to return to the government and avail its program through E-CLIP,” said MGen Arevalo.
Likewise, Arevalo noted the local populace effort in giving the troops timely and accurate information as he urged them to continue supporting the government’s peace campaign in ending local communist armed conflict in this part of the country.