Army soldiers pursuing the fleeing rebels they had encountered Saturday in Tanjay City, Negros Oriental, were reminded to strictly follow the rule of law and put the safety of the populace as their primary consideration.
Maj. Gen. Aurelio Baladad, 3rd Infantry Division commander, made the reminder as he commended troopers of the 79th Infantry Battalion for their professionalism and observance of human rights in two successive encounters with about 24 members of the New People’s Army in Sitio Pitawa, Brgy. Santo Niño, Tanjay City.
The two encounters Saturday claimed the lives of four suspected rebels, whose bodies were left behind, and were retrieved at the encounter site by government troopers.
In a statement he issued, Baladad said 79IB troopers are now in close coordination with barangay officials to ensure the safety and security of residents, and for assistance in the burial of the slain rebels.
Two other rebels surrendered after the encounter. One of them, who was hit in the right foot, was immediately treated by members of the 79IB medical team. They were apprised about their constitutional rights, Baladad, said in a statement.
Army Cpl. Melbert Dapilaga also sustained a minor injury.
Recovered from the encounter site were an M-16 rifle, a Kenwood hand held radio, a bandolier of ammunition, assorted personal belongings and subversive documents.
Baladad thanked the residents of Brgy. Santo Niño in Tanjay City, for the information about the presence of an armed group in their place.
He said additional troops have been dispatched to the neighboring areas of the encounter site to run after the fleeing rebels, while members of the Scene of the Crime Operatives conducted an investigation at the scene of the incident.
Baladad added that their medical team has been placed on standby to help those injured NPA members who would seek for medical assistance.*GPB
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