BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
Hinterland residents of Brgy. Carabalan, Himamaylan City, Negros Occidental, came out into open and withdrew their support for the New People’s Army, almost one month after series of encounters between Army soldiers and rebels at their respective communities.
The encounters also led to the recent surrender of 24 rebels, who also turned over assorted guns and explosives to the 94th Infantry Battalion.
In a statement, the Mt. Cansermon Command of the New People’s Army South Central Negros disputed the claims of 94IB that 24 of their comrades recently surrendered.
In a statement, rebel spokesman Ka Dionesio Magbuelas, alleged that by presenting fake surrenderees, the Armed Forces of the Philippines wants to project that they are winning the campaign against the revolutionary movement in Himamaylan City.
Magbuelas recalled that the 94IB also presented 27 fake rebel surrenderees on September.
Lt. Col. Van Donald Almonte, 94IB commander, disclosed that the 24 rebels who voluntarily surrendered to them, also endorsed seven hand guns, three rifle grenades and a fragmentation grenade.
“They were hungry and exhausted members of the NPA terrorist group”, Almonte said.
Last month’s series of encounters in the hinterland sitios of Brgy. Carabalan in Himamaylan City, claimed the lives of two Army soldiers and as that of Romeo Nanta, a regional commander of the NPA in Negros Island.
Almonte said that the communist terrorist group are now demoralized by the series of setbacks because of their recent losses, not only of key leaders, but abandonment by their armed followers and supporters.
On November 19, residents of Barangay Carabalan in Himamaylan City, Negros Occidental denounced the atrocities perpetrated by the rebel group during a condemnation rally held at the barangay covered court.
The activity was realized through the efforts of 94IB, Himamaylan City Police Station, Regional Mobile Force Battalion 6 and Carabalan village chairperson Mildred Titular, among other government agencies.
“The willingness of the peace-loving residents in condemning the communist terrorist group showed that they have been longing to live in a place where peace is paramount, and opportunity for development is coming,” Almonte said.*