A police trooper of the 6th Regional Mobile Force Battalion (RMFB) was injured in a combat operation with army soldiers against New People’s Army (NPA) rebels in Kabankalan City, Negros Occidental.
Patrolman John Imedio Gallero Javier, 27, who hails from Isabela town, is now in stable condition.
The joint operation in Sitio Basak, Barangay Tan-awan around 8:20 p.m. was initiated by troops of 62nd Infantry Battalion (IB) and policemen of 6th RMFB Technical Support Company.
After a 15-minute gun battle, the estimated 10 communist rebels retreated.
The Philippine Army reported that an NPA rebel was killed, based on the bloodstains found.
Soldiers recovered a rifle grenade, two magazines of AK 47, 117 rounds of 7.62 live ammunition, and electrical wires for anti-personal mines.
Also found were two pairs of rain boots, backpacks with personal belongings, pouch, medical kit, and battery cells.
The encounter in Kabankalan followed the pursuit operations of troops also from 62IB, and 31st Division Reconnaissance Company that clashed with some 15 communist rebels in neighboring Himamaylan City last Sunday.
A week ago, soldiers of 94IB also encountered NPA rebels at Sitio Cabangahan, Barangay Bantolinao in Manjuyod, Negros Oriental.
Lt. Col. Egberto Dacoscos, commanding officer of 62IB, said the latest operation was the third that resulted from the positive information they obtained on the NPA’s movement in central Negros.
He noted that the rebels’ areas of operation are monitored by government troops through the support of concerned individuals.
“Our troops are now highly capable of maneuver skills that led to the series of engagements against this terrorist group,” Dacoscos said.
Brig. Gen. Eric Vinoya, commander of the Joint Task Force Negros, said the Kabankalan clash is the third since the anti-insurgency unit was formed last month.
“This is the third, but definitely not the last strike of JTF Negros against these terrorists, hence, they should expect more intensive combat operations in the coming weeks,” he added.
(Nanette Guadalquiver PNA via NDB)