• GILBERT P. BAYORAN
Six suspected New People’s Army rebels died after a chance encounter with Army soldiers on Thursday night at Purok Lubi in Brgy. Tabugon, Kabankalan City, Negros Occidental, disclosed on September 22 by a top ranking military official.
Brig. Gen. Joey Escanillas, Army’s 302nd Infantry Brigade commander, said that the gunbattle ensued after 47th Infantry Battalion soldiers were on their way to check on reported presence of armed men in the area and were fired upon by a group of armed rebels on board a tricycle, whom they met along the way.
Escanillas said that the encounter between about 10 NPA rebels and Army soldiers at about 8 p.m. of September 21 lasted about 10 minutes, resulting in the death of six suspected NPA rebels, including two women.
There are reports that one of the slain female rebels was pregnant, which needs to be verified by a doctor, according to Kabankalan City Mayor Benjie Miranda.
Escanillas also disclosed that five of the six slain rebels were already identified, and three of them were high profile personalities of the South West Front (SWF) of the Komiteng Rehiyonal Negros/Cebu/Bohol/Siquijor (KR NCBS).
The fatalities were identified by the military as Alejo delos Reyes, with aliases of Pete and Bravo, Squad 2 leader of Sangay Yunit Propaganda Platoon 3 of SWF KR NCBS; Marjon Alvior, alias Kenneth, Vice Squad 2 leader of SYP Platoon 3; Bobby Pedro, alias Recoy, Vice Squad 3 Leader of the same rebel unit; Mario Fajardo Mullon, with aliases of Reco and Goring, a medical personnel, and Melissa Dela Pena, alias Diane, the wife of delos Reyes.
The other member of the group is yet to be identified, according to a statement issued by the Army’s 3rd Infantry Division.
Recovered from the encounter site were four caliber .45 pistols, a hand grenade, a caliber .38 revolver, assorted medicines and medical paraphernalia, eight cellular phones, personal belongings, and subversive documents of high intelligence value.
Escanillas also said that no Army soldiers were injured.
On the other hand, Miranda reported that there was no evacuation of residents in the area, or civilians hit by crossfire, as the encounter site was in a remote area.*