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Bacolod City, Philippines Friday, August 5, 2011
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Policeman injured in battle,
3 alleged NPA men arrested

BY GILBERT BAYORAN

A policeman was injured, while three suspected New People’s Army rebels, including a barangay kagawad, were captured in renewed armed clashes Tuesday in the hinterlands of Escalante City and Toboso, Negros Occidental.

Lt. Col. Eduardo Gubat, 62nd Infantry Battalion commander, said the three suspected rebels identified as Antonio Damalirio, Bienvenido and Hernani Pacatang, were captured Tuesday at the encounter site in Brgy. Bandila, Toboso.

Gubat said Damalirio is a kagawad in Bandila.

Also recovered from the encounter site were an improvised homemade shotgun with a magazine, eight live ammunition for a shotgun, seven backpacks containing personal belongings, subversive documents, jungle hammocks, assorted medicine, and three CPP-NPA red flags.

Gubat said an improvised homemade shotgun with a magazine and eight live ammunition was taken from the residence of Damalirio.

On the same day, a police trooper was also injured in another encounter with about 20 armed rebels in Brgy. Libertad, Escalante City, believed to have been fleeing from 62nd Infantry Battalion soldiers during a series of gunbattles in Toboso and in Brgy. Pantao, Calatrava.

The injured policeman identified as Police Officer 1 Othenes Ruga, a member of the 6th Regional Public Safety Battalion, sustained a gunshot wound on the right elbow.

Supt. Milko Lirazan, 6th RPSB director, said two teams of police troopers who stumbled upon a group of 30 rebels clad in black uniforms resting in Brgy. Libertad, Escalante City, which is adjacent to Brgy. Bandila, Toboso and Brgy. Pantao, Calatrava, opened fire first, hitting three rebels.

While trying to retrieve the injured rebels, Lirazan said the police troopers were met with intense firing from rebels, which triggered a gunbattle for more than 20 minutes, and resulted in the injury of Ruga.

He said the fleeing rebels managed to rescue their injured comrades, while withdrawing from the encounter site.

Gubat said the rebels encountered by 6th RPSB troopers could be an augmentation force, which belong to Sentro de Grabidad platoon, a regular force of the Komiteng Rehiyonal-Negros.

The captured rebels were subjected to a medical check-up by the 62nd Infantry Battalion, before they were turned over yesterday to the Toboso police station.

The series of encounters started Monday in Brgy. Pantao, Calatrava, between 62nd IB soldiers and about 40 armed rebels. Pursuit operations by government forces, who were assisted by two Air Force helicopter gunships, led to two more encounters in the Toboso and Escalante hinterlands.

Several days before the encounter, eight NPA members surrendered to 62nd IB.*GPB

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