By Dominique Gabriel G. Bañaga
The encounter between the Philippine Army’s 15th Infantry Battalion and insurgents of the New People’s Army’s (NPA) Southern Negros Front in Negros Occidental’s Candoni town entered on its second day yesterday.
Major Cenon Pancito III, 3rd Infantry Division (3ID) spokesperson, said they recorded at least three encounters on Tuesday morning at 6:20 a.m., 7:45 a.m. and 9:40 a.m.
Pancito said they have not yet received a comprehensive report of the current situation in the encounter site, although he confirmed that every time the soldiers attempt to make a move, the members of the NPA reply back by opening fire at government forces.
He also said that there are still no casualties among the government forces, while it is strongly believed that the NPA may have suffered heavy casualties in the battle.
The 15IB also managed to overran an NPA lair in the area capable of accommodating at least 30 to 40 individuals.
The battle has also forced at least 14 residents to flee their homes.
The army is currently conducting clearing operations in the area of Barangay Caningay and neighboring Barangay Balicotoc, part of the municipality of Ilog.
Reinforcements have also been sent to the area in order to cordon it off and prevent the rebels from escaping./DGB, WDJ