BACOLOD CITY – Some four Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) rebels died during an hour-long skirmish with joint government troops in Barangay San Pablo, Manapla, Negros Occidental on Thursday morning.
A report of the northern Negros-based 79th Infantry Battalion (79IB) of the Philippine Army identified the fatalities as Marilyn “Monet” Badayos, finance officer of the NPA’s Northern Negros Front (NNF) and former secretary of the South East Front; Ronilo “Wowie” Desabille of the NNF propaganda education committee; and Rody “Brod” Carbajosa, finance logistic officer of NNF Sentro de Grabidad Platoon.
The identity of the fourth fatality is still being determined, it added.
1Lt. Dansan Camua, civil-military operations officer of the 79IB, told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) the cadavers have already been brought to the Manapla Funeral Homes in Barangay 1A as of Thursday afternoon.
During the clash in Hacienda Builder that started around 2 a.m., combined Army and police troops engaged about 10 communist rebels considered as remnants of the NNF, which has already been considered dismantled earlier this year.
After the firefight, the rest of the enemy withdrew towards Hacienda Mimi in Barangay Estado, Victorias City, the report said.
“This successful encounter has significantly shaken the weakening organization of the communist-terrorist groups in Negros. It’s sad that more lives were lost fighting for a senseless cause. This could have been prevented if they heeded our call for them to surrender and return to the fold of the law,” Lt. Col. J-jay Javines, commanding officer of 79IB, said in a statement.
According to the report, the Manapla Municipal Police Station has confirmed that Badayos has a warrant of arrest for three counts of attempted murder issued by Executive Judge Amy Alabado Avellano of the Regional Trial Court in San Carlos City.
While securing the encounter site, the troops recovered a caliber .45 and a caliber .38 pistols, two hand grenades, propaganda materials, extortion letters and receipts, and subversive documents.
The joint enhanced military and police operation was carried out by personnel of the 79IB, Philippine National Police-Special Action Force 64th Special Action Company, 1st Negros Occidental Provincial Mobile Force Company, 605th Mobile Company of the Regional Mobile Force Battalion-Western Visayas, and Manapla Municipal Police Station.
In a statement, Maj. Gen. Benedict Arevalo, commander of the 3rd Infantry Division, said the Army, in collaboration with the police, thwarted one of the major extortion activities of the CPP-NPA in Negros Island.
“The four who died in an encounter in Barangay San Pablo, Manapla were the ‘brains’ of the extortion scheme. They were responsible for all extortion activities in the area (that targeted) big companies, construction firms and private individuals for years,” he added.
Brig. Gen. Inocencio Pasaporte, commander of 303rd Infantry Brigade, commended the devotion to duty of the military and police troops who immediately responded to the reports of the presence of communists in Barangay San Pablo.
The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines. (PNA)