By Dominique Gabriel G. Bañaga
The New People’s Army (NPA) Mt. Cansermon Command yesterday claimed responsibility for last Saturday’s clash with members of the Philippine Army 62nd Infantry Battalion (62IB) in Barangay Tan-awan, Kabankalan City.
Mt. Cansermon Command spokesperson Ka Dionesio Magbuelas called the incident an “ambush,” contrasting the government’s characterization, as they considered it an “encounter.”
Magbuelas contradicted Philippine Army claims of two dead and 10 wounded by claiming they killed five soldiers and wounded 10 others.
During the clash, however, Magbuelas also confirmed they suffered one casualty, an NPA member who went by the name ‘Ka Bebe,’ while two others were wounded.
Magbuelas added, they confiscated an assault rifle with an M203 grenade launcher attachment, a 100-round belt of K3 ammunition, and six backpacks owned by soldiers.
Meanwhile, he reiterated the group’s criticism of the Ilog-Hilabangan River Basin Project, which he claimed would only benefit “capitalist companies,” adding the project would “break the local ecosystem of the river and endanger the lives of local residents.”
The clashes between the army and NPA stemmed from the rebels torching construction equipment at a National Irrigation Administration dam project last week./DGB, WDJ