ILOILO City – Ten days before the 50th anniversary of the New People’s Army (NPA) on March 29, government troops clashed with rebels in Barangay Osorio 1, San Remegio, Antique.
An undetermined number of rebels fired at the troops of the Philippine Army’s 61st Infantry Battalion (61IB) around 7:45 a.m. yesterday.
According to Lieutenant Colonel Sisenando Magbalot, commanding officer of the battalion, his men led by Staff Sergeant Eduardo Estologa were unscathed.
The firefight lasted for some five minutes. The rebels withdrew after augmentation troops arrived, said Magbalot.
During the exchange of fire, Magbalot said, four loud explosions were heard not far away.
“Those were probably improvised explosive devices intended for us. Luckily those went off far from our men,” said Magbalot.
Just this Sunday, March 17, Magbalot’s men seized nine improvised explosive devices from a house in Barangay Mulangan, Igbaras, Iloilo where some 10 rebels gathered.
The rebels fled buts Army soldiers arrested three members of the Elamparo family that owned the house.
Magbalot said the three later confessed to have been recruited by the NPA.
The battalion commander also said the nine improvised explosive devices recovered were designed to inflict considerable damage.
“Talagang damaging ang na-recover. Kayang paliparin ang truck natin ng ilang feet kasi malakas,” said Magbalot.
The explosives each weighed 10 kilos.
The NPA is the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines. It was founded on March 29, 1969./PN