CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines – Four New People’s Army (NPA) rebels were killed when government troops clashed with them in a hinterland village in Talakag town in Bukidnon province on Wednesday afternoon, April 6.
Brigadier General Ferdinand Barandon, commander of Army’s Task Force Peacemaker, said the fighting started at around 5:30 pm and ended about two hours later.
The military claimed it suffered no casualties.
Major Francisco Garello Jr., the spokesman of the Army’s 4th Infantry Division, said one of those killed was Jelly Sugnot, a young woman in her twenties.
Garello identified the other slain rebels as Carlisio D. Sumalinog, Jovilito Pontillas, and Gary Juliana.
Barandon said the soldiers, all under the 1st Special Forces Battalion, found at least 16 high-powered firearms and backpacks during subsequent clearing operations at the encounter site in Barangay Tikalaan, Talakag town.
The firearms include seven M16 rifles, two R4 carbines, an M653 rifle, three Garand rifles, an AK-47, and an M14 rifle.
“We believe that many more rebels were wounded because backpacks and firearms were strewn along their escape path,” he said.
The military said the soldiers encountered at least 30 rebels from the Platun Ipad of the NPA’s North-Central Mindanao Revolutionary Committee.
The same rebel group recently suffered major setbacks as a result of military operations in Impasug-ong town and the Mount Kitanglad range, forcing them to flee and head toward the Talakag, according to Barandon. – Rappler.com
Froilan Gallardo is a Mindanao-based journalist and an awardee of the Aries Rufo Journalism Fellowship.