Soldier killed, 2 others wounded in clash

PFC Joel Farinas was killed in an encounter with suspected rebels at Sitio Boyuron, Brgy. Buenavista in Himamaylan City, Negros Occidental on Thursday. (303rd IBde photo)

By: Glazyl Y. Masculino

BACOLOD City – A soldier was killed while his two other comrades were wounded in a clash between the 62nd Infantry Battalion (IB) of the Philippine Army and suspected New People’s Army (NPA) at Sitio Boyuron, Barangay Buenavista, Himamaylan City, Negros Occidental Thursday, August 8.

Brigadier General Benedict Arevalo, commander of 303rd Infantry Brigade (IBde), identified the slain soldier as Private First Class Joel G. Farinas, who succumbed to gunshot wounds on his chest and leg.

Wounded were his comrades Sergeant Froilan J. Tosalem, and Corporal Oliver V. Porten, who both suffered gunshot wounds on their left knee and left hand, respectively.

Arevalo said the wounded soldiers are already stable.

Arevalo said Farinas was their first casualty since he assumed as commander in the Negros Army in October 2018.

On Thursday afternoon, the 62nd IB engaged in an intermittent fire fight with about 20 rebels at a close distance while they were conducting combat operation around 2 p.m., following reports from civilians about the alleged presence of NPAs in the area.

The gunfight lasted for 30 minutes, Arevalo said.

Arevalo also said that at least three suspected rebels were killed after the NPA were seen by the troops allegedly dragging the bodies of their slain colleagues, while escaping the site.

There were bloodstains seen at the encounter site when they left, Arevalo said.

The Army also alleged that several rebels were also wounded during the encounter.

Recovered from the site were about 500 pieces of ammunition shells for caliber .40mm grenade launcher and 7.62mm AK47 rifle. Also recovered were M14 rifles, M60 machine gun, an M16 rifle, an alloy magazine spring of M16, and electrical wire for anti-personnel landmine used as an improvised explosive device (IED).

The 62nd IB dispatched additional troops to conduct pursuit operations against the said armed group.

The recent clash was the 12th engagement of the Army against the NPA in the province, and the third encounter at the said village since January this year, Arevalo said.

It can be recalled that the 62nd IB first engaged in a clash with suspected rebels in the said village on April 9, which resulted in the injuries of seven soldiers.

Then it was followed by another clash on May 4, which led to the arrest of a 13-year-old boy, who was alleged to be a member of the revolutionary movement.