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 afternoon.
Brigadier General Benedict Arevalo, commander of 303rd Infantry Brigade (IBde), refused to divulge the identities of the slain and wounded soldiers in the meantime, but he confirmed that they hold the ranks of Private First Class, Sergeant, and Corporal, respectively.
Arevalo said this is the first time that he lost a soldier since he assumed as commander of the Negros-based Army unit in October 2018.
Arevalo said the 62nd IB engaged in an intermittent fire fight with the rebels at a close distance while they were conducting combat operation around 2 p.m.
The operation was in response to reports from civilians about the alleged presence of NPAs in the area.
The gunfight lasted for 30 minutes, he added.
Arevalo said the slain soldier was hit on his chest while his two other wounded comrades suffered wounds on their left leg and left arm.
The two injured soldiers are already stable, he added.
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 colleagues while escaping.
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 fired bullets of firearms and components of improvised anti-personnel landmine.
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, 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.