BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
Justice has been served on two Army soldiers killed by New People’s Army rebels on April 3 in Brgy. Yao-Yao, Cauayan, Negros Occidental, following the capture and deaths, respectively, of some of their leaders in recent gunbattle in Ilog, Negros Occidental, Lt. Col. Erwin Cariño, 15th Infantry Battalion commander, said.
Cariño said that the group of Nilda Natan Bertulano, who is the secretary of the Komiteng Rehiyonal- Negros/Cebu/Bohol/Siquijor, was behind the ambush of two Army soldiers, who were engaged in Community Support Program activities of 79IB in the barangay.
Bertulano, Joebel Mabayag, alias Ka Pandoy and Ka Christian, were captured during an encounter with troopers of the 6th Special Action Battalion of the PNP SAF, Regional Mobile Force Battalion, 62nd Provincial Mobile Force Company and 15th Infantry Battalion in Sitio Balik-Balik, Brgy. Tabu, Ilog, on September 14.
The gunbattle between the group of Bertulano and government troopers also led to the death of four rebels and recovery of four high-powered firearms and explosives, among other war materials.
The Negros Island Regional Operational Command of the New People’s Army issued a statement on September 17 expressing its highest tribute to four of their comrades who died in the Ilog encounter.
Juanito Magbanua, spokesperson of the NPA Apolinario Gatmaitan Command, identified their four slain comrades as Cheene “Ka Nikki” Dacalos, 30, Jeren “Ka Alvin” Vargas, 24, Jonard “Ka George” Alvior, and a certain Ka Bobong.
Magbanua said that Vargas, of Brgy. Canlusong, EB Magalona, was a platoon leader of the NPA’s Armando Sumayang, Jr. Command, where Dacalos, of Minglanilla, Cebu, served as the group political instructor.
1Lt. Wynn Sandag, 15th Infantry Battalion Civil Military Operations officer, revealed yesterday that the husband of Dacalos and father of Vargas, are also members of the South West Front.
Magbanua described their four comrades as revolutionary martyrs, who gave their best to advance the revolutionary aspirations of the people to achieve national liberation and democracy.
Sandag said that the cadaver of Vargas and two other slain rebels were already claimed by their respective families, except for Dacalos, who was a reported as a graduate of UP- Cebu.
PLt. Col. Ryan Manongdo, 6SAB commander, said he believes that they were able to engage in gunbattle the main force of the South West Front led by Bertulano, who has a pending arrest warrant for attempted murder, issued by Kabankalan Regional Trial Court Judge Rodney Magbanua.
Cariño claimed that the successful joint operation marks the downfall of the KR-NCBS South West Front, as deaths and capture of its key leaders would greatly contribute in the defeat of the NPA in southern Negros.*