NPA rebel killed, soldier, civilian hurt in another Binalbagan clash

By Glazyl Y. Masculino

BACOLOD City – An unidentified man believed to be a member of the New People’s Army (NPA) died, while a soldier and a civilian were injured when military troopers clashed with alleged rebels at Sitio Bugalo, Barangay Santol, Binalbagan, Negros Occidental last Thursday.

Major Cenon Pancito III, spokesperson of Army’s 3rd Infantry Division (ID), said they have yet to identify the slain rebel who was already turned over to the custody of the police and the local government unit.

Pancito also withheld the names of the wounded victims – a 25-year-old soldier and 50-year-old civilian.

Pancito said the August 5 clash happened while the 94th Infantry Battalion (IB) was conducting pursuit and clearing operations in relation to the August 3 clash at the said village.

The soldiers engaged in a five-minute firefight with five alleged armed rebels, believed to be part of the group that clashed with state troopers in the August 3 clash, which resulted in the arrest of two alleged members of the NPA’s Central Negros Front 1.

The soldier suffered a gunshot wound in his right lower leg, while the civilian, who was caught in the middle of the crossfire, was hit by a bullet in his left ear, according to the police.

Pancito said that both wounded victims are now stable in a hospital here.

The Army recovered from the slain rebel a .38 caliber pistol with ammunition.

Pancito said the 94th IB also recovered a high-powered firearm and a shotgun during their clearing operation in the said village on August 4.

“This solidifies the information that two wounded rebels were seen fleeing from the site on August 3, leaving behind the recovered firearms,” he added.

As he lauded the 94th IB for the successful operation, Major General Eric Vinoya, 3ID commander, also recognized the vigilance of the local populace in reporting the presence and movement of the NPA to the Army.

“As I’ve said before, Negros is no longer a safe place for the NPAs. With the Negrenses on our side, we are optimistic that we can achieve a Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP)-NPA-free Negros,” Vinoya said in a statement.

Meanwhile, George Francis, who was arrested in the August 3 clash, was released from police custody after police found no evidence linking him to the NPA, according to Police Captain Ellendie Rebusquillo, chief of Binalbagan Municipal Police Station.

Also arrested last August 3 was Eduardo Estrada. While there was also no evidence linking him to the NPA, he was still detained after police served to him an arrest warrant for a murder case in Negros Oriental, Rebusquillo said.