CAMP GERONA, MURCIA, Negros Occidental– A running gun battle transpired between the troops of 62IB and New People’s Army that resulted to undetermined number of wounded on the NPAs at So Uway- uway, Brgy Quintin Remo, Moises Padilla, Negros Occidental exactly 9:00 am today, August 13, 2020.
The armed encounter happened after concerned residents in the area reported the presence of armed men believed to be NPA rebels. The residents tipped-off the 62nd Infantry Battalion, who has operational jurisdiction in the area, after being extorted and harassed by the NPAs. The populace was fed-up by the extortion activities, harassment and food grabbing of the NPAs who were having trouble in their food supplies following the lockdown enforced to contain the 2019 coronavirus disease (CoViD-19).
Despite the heavy rains in the area, troops of 62IB immediately acted on the information and launched a combat operation on the reported presence of the NPAs wherein they encountered more or less fifteen (15) members of New People’s Army at vicinity Sitio Uway-uway, Brgy Quintin Remo. The skirmish resulted to a running gun battle that lasted for almost 15-minutes. The NPAs cowardly escaped and scattered in different directions while dragging their wounded companions as evidenced by bloodstains along their route of withdrawal. Left also along the scene of encounter were 2 rice pots with cooked rice believed to be taken from the populace, cell phones, headlight/flashlights and other belongings.
Lieutenant Colonel Melvin N Flores, Commanding Officer of the 62IB stated that “this clearly shows that the NPA terrorists are not welcome and despised by the people of Moises Padilla, These NPA rebels have suffered hunger and exhaustion as their emissaries encountered difficulties in finding supplies of foods and other basic needs because of the COVID-19 pandemic. These CNTs are constrained in obtaining supplies after all the barangays in Moises Padilla and its neighbouring towns had declared the NPA as persona non grata last year. I commend the courage of some civilians who, despite the fear and danger, managed to provide us accurate information on the area where the NPA were gathering. The information resulted in this successful military operation,” he added.
Meanwhile, Colonel Inocencio Pasaporte, 303rd Infantry Brigade Commander said, “We will continue to pursue the NPAs without let-up to eradicate them in Central Negros, however, we are calling on the remaining NPA combatants to surrender and return to their families and communities to live a peaceful life. Avail the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) of the government as the Province of Negros Occidental is always ready to accept them and provide assistance to start their lives again, “he added.