Army soldiers in Western and Central Visayas have been ordered to be relentless in pursuit operations against peace spoilers, following an encounter in Isabela between government troopers and suspected New People’s Army rebels, by Brig. Gen. Eric Vinoya, newly-installed 3rd Infantry Division commander.
While he commended the 62nd Infantry Battalion soldiers for the gallantry they displayed during an encounter Friday in Sitio Canlusog, Brgy. Cansalongon, Isabela that resulted in the killing of a member of the NPA, arrest of his injured comrade, as well as six others, as reported by the police last night, Vinoya urged Army soldiers to “fiercely hunt down these terrorists and bring them to justice.”
Brig. Gen. Benedict Arevalo, 303rd Infantry Brigade commander, identified the one killed in Brgy. Cansolongon, Isabela encounter, not in Brgy. Santol, Binalbagan, as earlier reported by the military, as Rassim Chanco, 27, of Brgy. Canlamay, Ilog, while Ernesto Amallo was the NPA member injured and captured.
Chanco was reported by Arevalo as the intelligence officer of the Central Negros Front, while Amallo, who is now being treated for his gunshot wound in a hospital, admitted being a member of the NPA and a squad leader of the NPA Central Negros Front.
Recovered by Army soldiers were a Daewoo 9mm pistol, two ICOM radio handsets, a rifle grenade, 50 meters of trip wires of improvised explosives device, subversive documents, a medical kit with assorted medicines, a CPP-NPA flag, 15 back packs containing personal belongings, two solar panels, among others.
The encounter was an offshoot of an incident where about 15 suspected rebels barged into the residence of Brgy. Capt. Eugene Zambrona in Brgy. Tinongan, Isabela Thursday last week, looking for him and the firearm in his possession.
Ka JB Regalado, spokesperson of the Leonardo Panaligan Command in central Negros, confirmed in a statement that he issued orders that troops from the LPC-NPA implement what he calls police action to arrest and disarm Zambrona, alleging that it was sanctioned by the People’s Democratic Government.
Regalado claimed that Zambrona is facing charges for threatening civilians, and accused him of arming his barangay tanods, among other accusations.
The incident in Brgy. Tinongan, Isabela came several days after town officials, including barangay captains, declared the CPP-NPA as persona non grata, a move also adopted earlier by other local government units in northern Negros.
Regalado also slammed the military for the alleged ransacking of the house of a certain Ernesto Amallo, who presented him as a member of the NPA, in Isabela town.
Also nabbed at the encounter site were Elizabeth Antrone, Erlinda Garsola, Maricic Bordago, Maricar Estoya, Jorgen Lisadio and Marencea Guadia.
Arevalo said they are trying to establish the background of the six women, who were at the encounter site.
Capt. Ruben Pajarito, Isabela police officer-in-charge, said yesterday that the six arrested suspects are now under the custody of the town police.*
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