Army, NPA clash anew in two towns

Government troops clashed with suspected members of the New People’s Army in Sta. Catalina, Negros Oriental, and in Moises Padilla, Negros Occidental recently.

A report from the 302nd Infantry Brigade of the Philippine Army based in Tanjay City, Negros Oriental, said a squad-sized bayanihan team of nine soldiers from the 79th Infantry Battalion, encountered around five suspected rebels, while on reconnaissance patrol in Sitio Payawpayawan, Barangay Nagbinlod, Sta. Catalina town Saturday.

1Lt. Roel Morales Jr., spokesperson of the 302nd Brigade, said a firefight occurred for about 20 minutes before the rebels fled southeast. No casualties were reported on the government side while pursuit operations continue, he added.

Meanwhile, soldiers from the 11th IB based in Guihulngan City, Negros Oriental, also clashed with suspected NPA members at around 2 p.m. Thursday in Sitio Binataan, Barangay Quintin Remo, Moises Padilla town.

The soldiers were conducting peace and development work in the area when the encounter took place, the Army said.

Rebels believed to be members of the Komiteng Rehiyonal Sentral Bisayas-South East Front fired at the soldiers before withdrawing. Army officials said they believed some of the rebels had been injured.

Col. Francisco Patrimonio, commander of the 302nd Brigade whose area includes Moises Padilla and other towns in Negros Occidental, had announced earlier that, because of the declining number of armed members of the KRSB-SEF, it has reportedly merged with its northern counterpart, the Komiteng Rehiyon Negros.*JFP

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