BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
Armed Forces of the Philippines chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, congratulated government troops for the recent successful combat operations in Sitio Agit, Brgy. Trinidad, Guihulngan City, Negros Oriental, that led to the neutralization of 10 members of the New People’s Army and the recovery of 11 high-powered firearms.
Sobejana, who conferred the Army soldiers with medals for their successful military operations Thursday at the 62nd Infantry Battalion headquarters in Brgy. Libas, Isabela, Negros Occidental, also lauded the efforts of local government units and stakeholders in their contribution to the peace effort of the AFP in Negros Island.
“With this serious setback, we expect a lot of surrenderers, as those who remain in the NPA ranks would soon realize that their cause is futile and useless, and that it would be better for them to return to the folds of law, and live a normal life,” he said.
On the other hand, the New People’s Army Apolinario Gatmaitan Command salute the heroism of its 10 Red Fighters, who died recently in a gunbattle with combined forces of the Philippine Army and police commandos.
Ka Juanito Magbanua, spokesperson of the Apolinario Gatmaitan Command, described them in a statement he issued as “martyrs“ of the revolutionary movement.
Magbanua identified them only through their aliases as Ka Troy, Ka Pido, Ka Diego, Ka Ayron, Ka Bong, Ka Jun, Ka Junas, Ka Mighty, Ka Jeck Jeck and Ka JK. He also disputed military claims that NPA in Negros is getting weaker.
Lt. Col. Melvin Flores, 62IB commander, said that the injured NPA member, who was arrested during pursuit operations, is now in stable condition, after he was accorded medical attention.
Sixty-eight families, who evacuated from Brgy. Trinidad, Guihulngan City, Negros Oriental, are now being cared for by the city government, according to Mayor Carlo Jorge Joan Reyes, who offered mass and candle lighting rites for the souls of 10 slain NPA rebels on Wednesday.
NO CIVILIANS HURT
Reyes said no civilian was hurt during the encounter between Army soldiers and about 40 armed members of the Central Negros Front 1 of the Komiteng Rehiyonal- Negros/Cebu/Bohol/Siquijor, as the 62nd Infantry Battalion has guaranteed the safety of people in Central Negros.
Flores also expressed his sympathies to the families of rebels killed in the encounter, who, he said, have suffered so much, because of the selfish interests of their NPA leaders.
He reiterated his call for the remaining NPA members to surrender and avail of the Enhanced Comprehensive Integration Program of the government.
“If you don’t, we do not have a choice but to do our duty to enforce the full force of the law and protect the people,” he stressed.*