By Dominique Gabriel G. Bañaga
At least five New People’s Army (NPA) insurgents are believed dead after engaging in a gun battle with soldiers from the Philippine Army 79th Infantry Battalion (79IB) early yesterday morning at Sitio Puting Bato in Barangay Minautok, Calatrava.
79IB commander, Lt. Colonel Emelito Thaddeus Logan, said, prior to the clash, they received reports on election day indicating an NPA presence, prompting them to send a platoon to the area.
Around 5:30 a.m., the soldiers encountered around 30 NPA rebels and a gun battle ensued for at least 30 minutes until the insurgents retreated in different directions.
After interviewing local residents, military authorities speculate approximately five rebels were killed in the clash.
Soldiers later found “heavy blood marks” in the area previously held by the NPA.
Logan added, three soldiers suffered minor injuries.
Soldiers recovered a magazine for an M1 Garand rifle, three mobile phones, two power banks, a memory card, one pair of boots, a hammock, 10 kilos of rice, and other personal belongings from the rebels.
Logan further noted, the encounter was the second they have recorded in the town./DGB, WDJ