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Monday, June 17, 2024
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HomeDNX DefenseYoungest in positions batcoms prove vow to run after remnants no empty...

Youngest in positions batcoms prove vow to run after remnants no empty boasts

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BACOLOD CITY, Negros Occidental, Philippines – Two Army lieutenant colonels who are relatively the freshest to assume battalion commands have successively shown last week that their vows to run after Communist terrorist remnants in their operational areas are not empty boasts fit only for news dispatches.

This came after the 62nd and 79th Battallions, both infantry units under the 303rd Brigade in the province, reported clashes with remnants of the guerrilla fronts they have dismantled in previous years.

The 62nd, based in Isabela town in southern Negros reported its first major engagement this year on 21 May 2024 when its rifle unit clashed with remnants of the Central Negros Front 1 in the upland community of Inangaw in Quintin Remo, a village in the town of Moises Padilla noted for being a place where many NPA fighters come from.

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Moises Padilla is around a two-hour drive from here.

The Tuesday clashes, two brief ones, left one rebel dead, named by the military as Richard ‘Rocky’ Dela Peña, 50, and the seizure of an M16 assault rifle and a revolver.

Lieutenant Colonel Evelio Ilanga III, the newest battallion commander of the Brigade who had been in command of the 62nd for around three months only, said villagers in the area tipped them off about the presence of the rebels who had been bothering them, asking for money or food.

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Ilanga said the intense El Niño heat had been working against the rebels who are mostly struggling to keep alive amid the relentless military operations of the 62nd IB.

The Central Negros Front 1, that covers aeeas in the Oriental and Occidental sides of the islands was the mother front of then top island Communist leader and former priest Frank Fernandez.

It was declared as dismantled only late last year, leaving only a handful of remnants that Ilanga wants to reduce to zero.

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A day after the Quintin Remo gunbattle, the 79th Infantry Battalion based in the northern city of Sagay also reported a clash, scoring an identical one rebel killed and one rifle seized in the upland village of Cambayobo in Calatrava town.

Lieutenant Colonel Arnel Calaoagan, who is relatively new in command, said the slain remnant of the dismantled Northern Negros Front was identified as Jeje Redobles who also provided important logistical and material support to rebel remnants.

The Northern Negros Front, which covers a major moneymaking area of the NPA, was formally declared dismantled on 16 April 2021.

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Julius D. Mariveles
Julius D. Mariveles
An amateur cook who has a mean version of humba, the author has recently tried to make mole negra, the Mexican sauce he learned by watching shows of master chef Rick Bayless. A journalist since 19, he has worked in the newsrooms of radio, local papers, and Manila-based news organizations. A stroke survivor, he now serves as executive editor of DNX.
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