NEUTRALIZED. The cadaver of CPP-NPA leader Virgilio Marco “Bedam” Tamban, who was killed in a clash with soldiers in Isabela, Negros Occidental on Wednesday (March 9, 2022). The military tagged Tamban as a “notorious hitman” responsible for the recent killings of civilians in central Negros. (Photo courtesy of 303rd Infantry Brigade, Philippine Army)

BACOLOD CITY – The top official of the Philippine Army in Western and Central Visayas said justice has been served to the victims of Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) leader Virgilio Marco “Bedam” Tamban, who was killed in a clash with soldiers in Isabela, Negros Occidental on Wednesday.

“The death of a.k.a. ‘Bedam’ will serve justice to the civilians killed by the NPA in Negros,” said Maj. Gen. Benedict Arevalo, commander of the 3rd Infantry Division, in a statement on Thursday.

The military tagged Tamban as a “notorious hitman” responsible for the recent killings of Negrense civilians.

Arevalo, who previously headed the 303rd Infantry Brigade based in Murcia, Negros Occidental, acknowledged the help of villagers for providing accurate information to the troops regarding the presence of communist terrorists.

He also lauded the troops of the 62nd Infantry Battalion (IB) for their gallantry in responding to reports from the community.

The 62IB earlier reported that around 10 CPP-NPA members had planned to execute a civilian they suspected to be a government informant, and village residents reported their presence to the soldiers and personnel of Isabela Municipal Police Station.

Around 2 a.m., the troops clashed with the rebels, resulting in the death of Tamban and his comrade. Another NPA member was also captured by the troops.

“We are urging the remaining members of the CPP-NPA to surrender while they still have time, or else suffer the fate of their killed members,” Arevalo said.

The rebels led by Tamban were the primary suspects in the murder of five persons in central Negros from February 16 to March 2 this year, the 62IB reported.

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)