Evacuees return to NegOr village after military-NPA clash

By Juancho Gallarde

September 7, 2018, 8:11 pm

DUMAGUETE CITY -- The situation in Manjuyod, Negros Oriental has normalized as evacuees have begun returning to their homes after they fled, following an encounter between government troops and suspected New People’s Army (NPA) rebels in Sitio Basakan, Barangay Panciao of that northern town on Monday afternoon.

Mayor Felix Sy immediately convened the municipal peace and order council with the presence of elements from the 15th Infantry Battalion (IB), who engaged suspected NPA rebels in a five-minute firefight, and the 62nd Infantry Battalion, to assess the state of security in Manjuyod.

Manjuyod police chief, Senior Insp. Antonio Jabar, disclosed on Friday that the situation in Panciao has normalized, with additional troops deployed to the barangay, specifically the Alpha Company of the 15th IB.

Meanwhile, 12 families are still with their relatives and friends in the lowlands but the respective heads of their families, including sons of legal age, returned to their respective homes because of their farm animals, he said.

According to Jabar, the battalion commander of the 15th IB has requested the evacuees to go back to their respective homes because the area is already secured. A community support program is also being implemented in the area for the benefit of the residents.

After the encounter early this week, some 350 individuals left their homes in Panciao and temporarily took shelter at the Bagtic Elementary School.

Meanwhile, a candle-lighting activity is scheduled 6 p.m. Friday at the covered court of Panciao for the killing of village chief Mario Gonzales, who will be buried on Saturday.

A peace rally is expected to be held during the burial rites, according to a press release from the Civil Military Office of the 62nd IB. (PNA)