BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
About 14 families composed of 40 individuals fled their homes and sought refuge with their relatives in the lowlands, following a series of encounters on July 20 in Sitio Guinobatan, Brgy. Caningay, Candoni, Negros Occidental, between Army soldiers and about 30 to 40 New People’s Army rebels.
1Lt. Weann Sandag, 15th Infantry Battalion Civil Military Operations officer, said yesterday that the sporadic gun battles led to the capture of the harbor site of the fleeing NPA rebels that can accommodate about 40 persons.
Sandag said bloodstains were discovered at the abandoned harbor site.
Combat and clearing operations were still ongoing, as of this writing, Sandag said, adding that no one among the 15IB soldiers was hurt in the series of encounters.
P/Maj. Junji Liba, Candoni police chief, said yesterday that the affected residents are still being discouraged to return to their homes, as clearing operations were still underway.
Sandag lauded the cooperation of residents, who reported the presence of armed insurgents in their community, following their successful implementation of a community support program there.
The rebels reportedly split into small groups, and fled towards the tri-boundaries of barangays Caningay and Agboy in Candoni, and Brgy. Balicotoc in Ilog.
Sandag said Caningay barangay captain Edgardo Monseratte is attending to the basic needs of the affected residents, through the help of the Candoni municipal government, pending their return to their homes.*