2 die, 2 hurt as NPA tries to retake lair in Davao

By Lilian Mellejor

June 28, 2018, 7:12 pm

DAVAO CITY – Two soldiers of the Philippine Army’s 3rd Infantry Battalion were wounded while two members of the New people’s Army (NPA) died in an encounter on Wednesday afternoon when the rebels attempted to recover one of its lairs in Barangay Carmen, Baguio District.

Based on a report reaching the Police Regional Office-11 (PRO-11) Thursday, the troops were conducting combat operations at around 3:25 p.m when they encountered some 30 members of the NPA’s Pulang Bagani Command 2 and 3 under Kumander Bobby and Kumander Jeffry, respectively. Both NPA leaders belong to the rebel group's Southern Mindanao Regional Command (SMRC)

The firefight lasted for two hours resulting in the wounding of two soldiers, whose names are still withheld. They were immediately airlifted to the Camp Panacan Hospital while the bodies of the NPA rebels will still be retrieved from the clash site, the report said.

Capt. Jerry Lamosao, the spokesperson of the Army's 10th Infantry Division, on Thursday, said a second encounter with the rebels broke out when the troops were scouring the clash site. The troops recovered one improvised explosive device.

Pursuit operation is still ongoing to drive away the rebels out of Carmen, Lamosao said.

Carmen is one of the 21 barangays that the military earlier said had been cleared of NPA influence, after it passed the evaluation conducted by the Area Clearing Validation Board (ACBV) of the Army's 1003rd Infantry Brigade, 10th Infantry Division, together with the Davao City Police Office, the Davao del Norte Provincial Police Office, local government executives and barangay officials.

The ACVB would declare the barangays "cleared of NPA affectation" if they meet certain parameters, such as denial to the CPP-NPA of access to the area, resources, and manpower; and the establishment of a functioning barangay information network and integrated community public safety system.

In a statement Thursday, Maj Gen Noel Clement, the commander of the 10thID, said the "NPA terrorists are not welcome in a cleared barangay."

“Their resurgence was immediately reported to us. We are grateful to the people of Barangay Carmen for their continued support and cooperation in maintaining peace and order," Clement said. (Lilian C. Mellejor/PNA)