DECENT BURIAL. Soldiers of the 37th Infantry Battalion (IB) watch as a Catholic Church lay worker blesses the coffin containing the remains of an unidentified New People’s Army rebel slain in a clash with government forces in Palimbang, Sultan Kudarat on July 31, 2022.  The 37IB escorted the remains of the rebel to his final resting place. (Photo courtesy of 37IB)

COTABATO CITY – A military unit based in Palimbang, Sultan Kudarat, has facilitated the burial of an unidentified communist rebel slain in a clash with elements of the Army's 57th Infantry Battalion (IB).

Lt. Colonel John Paul Baldomar, the 37IB commander, said Thursday that elements of another Army unit, the 57IB, clashed on July 31 with a group of New People’s Army (NPA) combatants in the village of Napnapon in Palimbang, Sultan Kudarat province.

The five-minute encounter led to the death of the rebel.

Baldomar, whose unit has jurisdiction over Palimbang, said the slain NPA was abandoned by his comrades. A .30-caliber Garand rifle and ammunition were recovered from the clash site.

On Wednesday, soldiers belonging to the 37IB escorted the coffin of the unidentified NPA guerilla to his final resting place at the public cemetery in Barangay San Roque, Palimbang.

The military tried but failed to locate the slain rebels’ immediate family as nobody claimed nor provided information that could help identify him.

“When the rebels abandoned their fallen comrade, it was clear the NPA do not care for their fellow guerrillas,” Baldomar said.

“We reiterate our call for communist rebels to avail of the government peace program, so they can live peacefully with their families and loved ones,” he added. (PNA)