BACOLOD CITY – Government troops captured two Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) rebels and seized several weapons after a clash with communist-terrorists in Binalbagan, Negros Occidental on Tuesday afternoon.
In a report on Thursday, the Philippine Army’s 94th Infantry Battalion (IB) identified those taken into custody as George “Pakyaw/Pakner” Esoy and Eduardo “Edo” Estrada, both members of the NPAs Central Negros Front 1 and residents of Guihulngan City, Negros Oriental.
Lt. Col. Angelo Guzman, commander of 94IB, said the troops engaged about 30 rebels in the far-flung Sitio Agbagacay, Barangay Santol in a 10-minute firefight after the locals informed them of the presence of armed men.
They found the two rebels hiding in a creek after residents led them to the area, he added.
During the clearing operation, the soldiers recovered three high-powered firearms, including M653 Baby Armalite, M4 rifle and an M16A1 rifle, a shotgun, assorted magazines with ammunition, two solar panels, two hand-held radios, two mobile phones, two backpacks, among others.
As of press time, photos of the captured NPA rebels as well as those of the encounter site, and seized firearms and ammunition were still unavailable as the troops have yet to return to their base.
“Our operations in Negros will continue to be relentless. We are determined to free the communities from the presence of communist terrorists and their terroristic activities. We call on them to lay down their arms, live a quality life with their families, and be more productive citizens rather than get killed or spend years behind bars,” De Guzman said.
In a statement, Binalbagan Mayor Alejandro Mirasol commended the residents of Barangay Santol for their courage and cooperation by reporting about the NPA rebels in their area.
“This only proves that Binalbaganons are one with us in ending local communist armed conflict,” the mayor said as he called on the communist rebels to make the right choice by peacefully surrendering to the government.
Mirasol also acknowledged the bravery of the 94IB troops in engaging the terrorists.
“The incident shows that this government will not tolerate the wicked doings of the terrorists and how capable our government forces are in actual combat,” he added.
The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines. (PNA)