By Glazyl Y. Masculino
BACOLOD City – The Army’s 3rd Infantry Division (ID) confirmed that two intelligence operatives of the 15th Infantry Battalion (IB) were killed in an ambush allegedly perpetrated by the New People’s Army (NPA) at Sitio Cambaga, Barangay Yao-Yao, Cauayan, Negros Occidental last Saturday.
Major Cenon Pancito III, 3ID spokesperson, identified the victims as Corporal Alaster Balboa of Zamboanga City, and Sergeant Jhoem Meguillo of North Cotabato.
Pancito said that the two soldiers were on board their motorcycles on their way back to the camp from their Community Support Program (CSP) activity in the area when armed persons waylaid them.
“They were not in combat mode and not even in their uniforms, but the NPAs are waging deceptive tactics to attack them,” he added.
Barangay Yao-yao is one of the areas in the province, where NPA thrives, and the CSP operations in the area greatly affected the Communist Terrorist Groups (CTGs), according to Pancito.
Pancito believed that the soldiers were probably monitored through the NPA’s militiamen on the ground who give them information.
The remains of the two fallen soldiers were already transported to their respective hometowns yesterday, Pancito said.
The ambush came a week after 10 suspected rebels were killed in an encounter between the 62nd IB and NPA at Barangay Trinidad, Guihulngan City, Negros Oriental on March 23.
It was followed by another clash between the alleged NPA and Philippine National Police (PNP) – Special Action Force (SAF) at Barangay Nagbinlod, Sta. Catalina town on March 29 that resulted in the death of two rebels.
On April 2, a wounded man believed to be an NPA member who was reportedly left by his fleeing comrades, was rescued by the police after the eight-minute firefight with suspected NPAs at the said village in Sta. Catalina town, based on a police report.
Police recovered from the scene a shotgun, a Colt .45 caliber pistol, hand grenade, two rifle grenades, magazine assemblies with live ammunition, and personal belongings.
“The wounded personality will be given appropriate medical treatment until he fully recovers from his wounds to face prosecution,” the PNP said in a statement.
Meanwhile, Lieutenant Colonel Erwin Cariño, 15th IB commander, recognized the bravery of the two soldiers who contributed to the peace and order in the said village.
Cariño, in a statement, said that the soldiers sacrifice a lot and risk their lives in the service of the country to protect the people in Negros so we can have peace.
“We honor the heroism and sacrifices of our fallen comrades and will ensure that justice will be served,” he added.
For his part, Colonel Leonardo Peña, 302nd Infantry Brigade (IBde) commander, condemned the incident which they called a “barbaric act” perpetrated by the CPP-NPA, in their desperation to hamper the peace and progress brought by the presence of their soldiers in the communities through various activities of their CSP operators in the area.
“Our slain soldiers are just doing their job to help in the progress of the communities in the far-flung barangays. Their ultimate sacrifice will not be put in vain, for we will legally seek justice and file appropriate criminal case to those culprits,” Peña said.