Army, NPA trade barbs on Guihulngan encounter

By Glazyl Y. Masculino

BACOLOD City – The Leonardo Panaligan Command (LPC) of the New People’s Army (NPA) Central Negros Front said there was no armed encounter that happened in Guihulngan City, Negros Oriental last Wednesday.

But the Army’s 303rd Infantry Brigade (IBde) maintained that it was a legitimate operation that resulted in the neutralization of an alleged NPA member.

On Sept. 7, the 62nd Infantry Battalion (IB) clashed with eight suspected NPA rebels at Sitio Manlibod, Barangay Trinidad, following reports on the alleged presence of armed NPAs allegedly conducting extortion activities in the area.

The clash killed Greg Cantilla alias “Jordan,” 45, of Barangay Sandayao, an alleged member of Sentro De Grabidad Platoon, Central Negros (CN) 1. He was also an alleged member of the Special Partisan Unit (Sparu).

But according to the LPC, there were no NPA units in that area during the incident. The LPC said that it was the 62nd IB’s modus operandi of declaring fake encounters to cover up peasant killings.

Brigadier General Inocencio Pasaporte, 303rd IBde commander, countered that it is the usual propaganda of the NPA to cover up the narrative of the incident.

“We stand on our ground that it was a legitimate operation,” he added.

Pasaporte said it was not a massacre, and if there are additional casualties, they will report it to the public.

Meanwhile, Major General Benedict Arevalo, commander of the 3rd Infantry Division (ID), commended the 62nd IB for its relentless military operations, which resulted in the neutralization of an alleged rebel in Negros island.

Arevalo reiterated its persistent call to the remaining NPAs to voluntarily surrender to avoid the same fate as their comrades in the previous Army’s combat operations in Negros.