BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
Two more suspected rebels died in another encounter yesterday with troopers of the elite Special Action Force of the Philippine National Police in Brgy. Nagbinlod, Santa Catalina, Negros Oriental.
The gunbattle occured as the New People’s Army marked its 52nd founding anniversary yesterday.
Initial police report said that SAF troopers were on combat patrol in the area when they encountered a group of armed men.
A report of NORPPO said that two suspected NPA members died while nobody was hurt among the PNP members.
Recovered from the encounter site were an M16 assault rifle with three magazines containing ammunition, a 22 caliber Magnum revolver with ammunition, a hand-held Baofeng radio set, five cellular phones and subversive documents.
The slain rebels were left behind at the site by their fleeing comrades. Their identities are yet to be established by the police.
EVACUEES RETURN HOME
The 68 families that were temporarily dislocated by the recent gunbattle in Sitio Agit, Brgy. Trinidad, Guihulngan City, that left 10 rebels dead, have returned to their homes as facilitated by the City Task Force –ELCAC ( Ending Local Communist Armed Conflict) regional Army spokesman Maj. Cenon Pancito III said yesterday.
One of the 10 slain rebels identified as Jojo Necto Alpitche, alias Ka Troy, of Sitio Agapapatao, Brgy. Binobohan, Guihulngan City, served as the commanding officer of the Sentro De Grabidad Platoon of Central Negros Front 1, Pancito said.
Other slain rebels were identified by the Philippine Army as Eduardo Tormis, alias Idu; Felicito Robert Quiñanola, alias Jon/June; Agie Casulay, alias Diego; Roberto Lisong Jr, alias Jonas, Roberto Liquime Litong; Ringie Dilica Gadiano, alias Eron; Felix Jojo Saputalo, alias Pidu; Regie Remasog, alias Bosto and Jeryneboy Timagus, alias Jecky, while the true identity of ka Jek-Jek has not been established, as of this time, he added.
Col. Michael Samson, 303rd Infantry Brigade acting commander, said yesterday that the identities of slain rebels were established through the help of a certain Jojo, who was injured in his right thigh, and was later captured during pursuit operations conducted by the 62nd Infantry Battalion and other Army and police units .
The Apolinario Gatmaitan Command of the NPA hailed their slain comrades as “martyrs”.
Government troops also recovered 11 high-powered firearms, as well as improvised explosive devices, during the three-hour gunbattle with about 40 NPA rebels.
The encounter will serve as a lesson for those who are still with the NPA, and could be an eye opener for them, that it is not too late yet to abandon the armed struggle and live a normal life with their families, Samson said.
Various government and non-government organizations in Negros Occidental yesterday gathered at the Provincial Capitol Lagoon Park in Bacolod City, to call for peace.
Dubbed as “A Day for Peace’, the activity kicked off through a Peace Caravan, followed by a prayer for peace, and highlighted by the unity of multi-sectors with one vision; peace and development for the people of Negros.
The program was made possible through the effort of the Negros Occidental provincial government, the Escalante city government, the Army’s 303rd Infantry Brigade, and the Philippine National Police.
Girl Scouts of the Philippines-Negros Occidental, Provincial Council for Women, Peace Net, Negros Occidental Schools Division, Association of Negros Producers Inc., Provincial Alliance of Capitol Employees, and Provincial Liga ng mga Barangay were among the sectors that participated in the program.
Governor Eugenio ‘Bong’ Lacson, Col. Michael Samson and PCol. Romy Palgue and PCW head Andrea Si attended the peace caravan activity, among others.
The program culminated with a recessional song ‘Heal the World’ performed by Negros Occidental Singing Ambassadors (NOSA).*