BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
A soldier and a suspected New People’s Army rebel died in two separate encounters in Brgy. Carabalan, Himamaylan City, Negros Occidental yesterday.
Army Cpl. Rodney Luces of Alimodian, Iloilo died during an encounter with rebels at about 6:30 a.m. yesterday in Sitio Cunalom, Brgy. Carabalan, Himamaylan City, Maj. Cenon Pancito, 3rd Infantry Division spokesperson, said.
Also injured in the gunbattle was PFC Kiel Charles Pama, the Himamaylan City Police Station reported.
Pursuit operations against the fleeing rebels led to another encounter by the 62nd Infantry Battalion in Purok Galaupan in the same barangay.
Col. Inocencio Pasaporte, 303rd Infantry Brigade commander, said a member of the NPA also died in the encounter, but his identity has not been established, as of this time.
Pasaporte said that seven backpacks were also recovered at the encounter site, aside from the body of rebel, who was left by his fleeing comrades.
In a statement issued by the 62nd Infantry Battalion, it said that Luces died while protecting Himamaylanons from the terroristic activities of the NPA.
Luces was declared dead on arrival at the Riverside Medical Center in Bacolod City, after he and Pama were airlifted by an Air Force helicopter from the encounter site, Lt. Col. Norberto Barniso, Himamaylan City police officer-in-charge, said.
Pama was reported to be in stable condition, as of last night.
Pasaporte lauded the cooperation and timely information relayed by residents in the area to the 62nd Infantry Battalion.*