By Dominique Gabriel G. Bañaga
The Philippine Army’s 79th Infantry Battalion (79IB) yesterday morning said they thwarted an extortion activity by the New People’s Army (NPA) insurgents last Sunday, December 5, at Sitio Ania Dos in Calatrava town’s Barangay Winaswasan in Negros Occidental.
Lt. Colonel J-jay Javines, commander of the 79IB, said the soldiers were conducting combat operations in the said sitio after a concerned citizen informed them that several armed men were spotted in the area and were extorting from local residents, particularly food supplies.
Javines said their unit engaged at least five NPA rebels with the gun battle lasting for at least seven minutes before the rebels were forced to retreat in different directions.
The 79IB commander said the rebels may have suffered a casualty in the battle as traces of blood were spotted in one of the withdrawal routes of the rebels.
The Philippine Army, along with Police Regional Office 6, is currently on “heightened alert” for reprisal attacks after the operation in the town of Miag-ao in Iloilo last week which claimed the lives of eight insurgents, including a ranking NPA leader./DGB, WDJ