BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
The New People’s Army fatalities in recent gunbattles with Army soldiers and police commandos rose to 10, following the recovery of two more bodies of slain rebels Wednesday in Brgy. Trinidad, Guihulngan City, Negros Oriental, military spokesman Maj. Cenon Pancito III said.
Pancito also reported the capture of two suspected NPA rebels, one of them having sustained gunshot wounds, and was being treated for his injuries, by his comrades. He identified the injured NPA members as Jojo Sanico, and Julio Rabot, who was applying first aid treatment on him.
The pursuit operations against the fleeing rebels also led to the recovery of assorted medical paraphernalia, an M14 magazine containing ammunition, an empty bandoleer, an ICOM radio, solar panel, 10 rain boots, 11 back packs, five CPP-NPA flags as well as personal belongings, on top of 11 high-powered firearms recovered at the encounter site.
Except for the two captured rebels, Pancito said that the identities of the 10 slain rebels have not been established as of this time, since nobody claimed their cadavers, that had been turned over to the local police and city government of Guihulngan.
Col. Michael Samson, acting commander of the 303rd Infantry Brigade, said he suspects that they may have been able to pre-empt the reported tactical offensives of the NPA, before its founding anniversary on March 29, which the rebel group usually did in the past years.
AFP chief of staff Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana yesterday had a brief visit to Guihulngan City, Negros Oriental, to boost the morale of Army soldiers, who, with the PNP Special Action Force, were involved in the successful operations against the NPA, Pancito said.*