BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
Renewed armed clashes in Sitio Maliko-liko, Brgy. Carabalan, Himamaylan City, Negros Occidental, on March 26, claimed the lives of two suspected New People’s Army rebels, confirmed yesterday by Brig. Gen. Inocencio Pasaporte, 303rd Infantry Brigade commanding officer.
While conducting blocking operations, a platoon-size unit of the 94th Infantry Battalion encountered five NPA rebels believed to be members of the Sentro De Grabidad Platoon of Central Negros (Front) 2.
Pasaporte disclosed that the five-minute firefight led to the death of two rebels, who were left behind buy their fleeing comrades at the encounter site.
Also recovered from the scene of encounter, which is about 200 meters from the first encounter site on March 25, were a fragmentation grenade, nine 12-gauge shotgun ammunition, a sniper scope and subversive documents.
The encounter on March 25 in the same sitio also yielded two improvised landmines with two blasting caps, two rifle grenades, eight magazines of M14 and M16 rifles loaded with ammunition, 100 kilos of rice, four large cooking pots, three pairs of slippers with bloodstains, seven back packs containing personal belongings, six CPP-NPA flags, several cellular phones and two sachets of suspected shabu.
Pasaporte said that the cadavers of two slain rebels were transported to a funeral parlor in Himamaylan City for identification purposes.
Maj. Gen. Benedict Arevalo, 3rd Infantry Division commander, who supervises three Army infantry brigades in Regions 6 and 7, said that the recovery of shabu from the NPA belongings bolstered reports that their leaders and subordinates are now using illegal drugs.
Arevalo also said that he is alarmed that rebel leaders are forcing their members to use illegal drugs.
He also raised the possibility that the CPP-NPA flags and food supplies will be used to celebrate the NPA founding anniversary on March 29.
Arevalo said that the series of encounters in Negros island will serve as an eye-opener to the NPA remnants who still refuse to surrender to the government, to lay down arms, return to the government and live a normal life together with their families.
“As we always say, that there are only two things that could happen to NPA members if they will not surrender, they can be either captured and go to jail, or get killed. So again, we urge them to surrender before it is too late,” Arevalo said.*