BACOLOD CITY – A Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) leader and his comrade were killed in an encounter with troops of the Philippine Army’s 62nd Infantry Battalion (IB) in Barangay Amin, Isabela, Negros Occidental early Wednesday morning.
The 62IB identified one of the fatalities as Virgilio Marco “Bedam” Tamban, commanding officer of Sandatahang Yunit Pampropaganda (SYP) Platoon Lenovo, tagged by the military as a “notorious hitman”, while the other one has yet to be identified.
One of their comrades, still unnamed, was captured with two cal.45 pistols and a hand grenade.
In a statement, Lt. Col. William Pesase Jr., acting commanding officer of 62IB, said justice has been served to the civilians killed by Tamban’s group.
“I commend the bravery of the concerned residents in divulging reliable information to finally stop the killings initiated by the NPA in central Negros,” he added.
According to the 62IB, about 10 CPP-NPA members had planned to execute a civilian they suspected to be a government informant in the area.
Concerned citizens reported their presence to troops of 62IB and personnel of Isabela Municipal Police Station.
When the troops responded at around 2 a.m., they engaged the rebels in a three-minute firefight that led to the death of Tamban and his comrade.
2Lt. Mary Liza Joy de Guzman, civil military operations officer, said the bodies were brought to Nalagon Funeral Homes in Isabela town.
The 62IB added the rebels were the primary suspects in the recent murder cases in central Negros.
The victims included Jay Maykel Ledesma of Barangay Macagahay, Moises Padilla, killed on March 2; Crish John Guyha of Barangay Luz, Guihulngan City, February 28; Heide Boca of Barangay Santol, Binalbagan, February 19; and Lucio and Tony Perater of Barangay Malangsa, Vallehermoso, February 16.
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.
The National Democratic Front has been formally designated as a terrorist organization by the Anti-Terrorism Council on June 23, 2021, citing it as “an integral and inseparable part” of the CPP-NPA created in April 1973. (PNA)