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Bacolod City, Philippines Saturday, March 23, 2019
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Residents evacuate,
classes suspended


Mayor Richard Jaojoco yesterday suspended classes in 10 schools in Toboso, Negros Occidental, to ensure the safety of students after armed skirmishes between Army soldiers and suspected New People’s Army rebels in Escalante City, Negros Occidental, Thursday night triggered the evacuation of more than 600 individuals.

Lt. Col. Emelito Thaddeus Logan, 79th Infantry Battalion commander, said yesterday that 79IB soldiers responded to reports about the presence of suspected NPA rebels in Sitio Fuentes, Brgy. Mabini, Escalante City.

Logan said a running gunbattle lasted for almost 10 minutes and the rebels scampered in various directions, while none of the soldiers were hit.

As a result of the pursuit operations, he said, a regular member of the NPA, whose identity is being withheld by the Philippine Army, surrendered.

Logan also reported that they recovered P300,000 worth of medicines, several boxes of assorted canned goods and a record book containing a list of medicines inventory.

He added that they are still validating reports of civilians that three to four rebels were injured in the gunbattle, as indicated by the bloodstains seen along the fleeing NPA withdrawal routes.

For security reasons, 381 individuals left their homes in the sitios of Brgy. Mabini, Escalante City, and 301 other persons in Brgy. San Jose, Toboso, Negros Occidental.

Jaojoco suspended classes in Uldarico Suison Elementary School, Labi-labi Elementary School, Labi-labi National High School, Stop Aguinaldo Elementary School. San Isidro Elementary School, Andres Gumban Memorial National High School, Mainit Elementary School, Bandila Elementary School, Tabun-ac Elementary School, Toril Elementary School and Salamanca Elementary School.

Logan said the internal displaced persons (IDPs) are now temporarily staying at the Doña Rosario Baldevia Elementary School in Sitio Santa Ana, Brgy. Mabini, Escalante City, and San Jose National High School in Brgy. San Jose, Toboso.

The local governments of Escalante City and Toboso immediately distributed relief good to the IDPs.

Logan said he suspects that the medicines and canned goods left behind by the fleeing rebels may have come from their extortion activities, or given to them by somebody.

Mayor Richard Jaojoco reported that classes in four schools in Toboso have been temporarily suspended, pending clearing operations of the Philippine Army and police.*


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