By Dominique Gabriel G. Bañaga
At least one New People’s Army (NPA) insurgent was killed while two of his fellow comrades were captured after an encounter at Escalante City’s Barangay Malasibog in Negros Occidental early yesterday morning.
Major Cenon Pancito, Philippine Army 3rd Infantry Division spokesperson, said they have yet to identify the NPA insurgent who was killed or the two alleged insurgents they have captured, although they believe the insurgents were part of the remnants of the NPA’s North Negros Front.
According to Pancito, elements of the Alpha Company of the 79th Infantry Battalion were sent to Barangay Malasibog after receiving information and complaints from concerned residents that they had spotted several armed individuals in the area.
As the soldiers were heading to the area where the insurgents were last spotted, Pancito said the troops crossed paths with a motorcycle with two riders, which matched a reported vehicle being used by an asset of the NPA.
The troops ordered the driver of the motorcycle to halt, however the driver sped away, prompting the soldiers to contact a separate unit which was located to the flank of the main unit.
The separate unit then encountered the motorcycle and this time the occupants opened fire prompting the soldiers to return fire.
The government troops killed one of the occupants during a gun battle, while the other managed to escape on foot.
Meanwhile, the main unit also encountered a multicab just a few minutes after the gun battle, and when troops checked the vehicle, they discovered that one of the occupants was armed, prompting them to make the arrest.
A search of the multicab revealed that it was carrying subversive documents and a computer hard drive with high intelligence value, as well as food supplies.
Pancito said they believe the multicab was used as a resupply vehicle for the NPA insurgents in the area.
The two individuals they arrested in the multicab are now under the custody of the Escalante City Police Station, and are currently being questioned by authorities.
Pancito added they are currently pursuing the remaining armed insurgents in the area, as they want to prevent them from reorganizing the North Negros Front./DGB, WDJ