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BACOLOD CITY, Philippines – Aerial reconnaissance by the Philippine Air Force (PAF) allowed government forces to get the upper hand against the New People’s Army in weekend clashes that cut across the mountain borders of Negros Occidental and Oriental, the military said on Tuesday, May 23.
The 62nd Infantry Battalion said the PAF sent an S-70i CUH Blackhawk and an element AW109 on Sunday, May 21, to support ground forces engaging rebels in Guihulngan, Negros Oriental.
The 62 IB said it killed four guerrillas in Guihulngan.
The Negros Oriental clash came a day after the May 20 encounter in Sitio Napulian and Sitio Oway Oway, Brgy Quintin Remo, Moises Padilla, Negros Occidental.
A separate statement from the military claimed they killed five rebels in Moises Padilla town.
The military also claimed it recovered from the Moises Padilla encounter scene one M16 rifle, 1 KG9 machine pistol, 2 cal 38 pistols, 1 UZI machine pistol, 2 homemade 12 gauge shotguns, 4 rifle grenade ammunition, a bandolier, other ammunition, and rebel paraphernalia.
In between combat operations, the PAF and 62IB dropped off information materials of the “Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (ECLIP)” to “intensify information operations” in the hinterlands of Moises Padilla and Guihulngan City.
Earlier, the military also held what it called “localized peace engagement” with residents of Brgy Quintin Remo, including more than 200 displaced families comprising more than 800 individuals.
They were allowed home after the distribution of food packs but not before military officials warned against rebels using deep-seated social-economic problems to recruit farmers and youth.
The military said the families of the alleged rebels killed in Moises Padilla, belonging to the SYP (Sandatahang Yunit Propaganda) Platoon, Central Negros 1 – Komiteng Rehiyon Negros Cebu Bohol Siquijor, have already claimed their bodies.
The government paid for the caskets, said the military statement.
Meanwhile, the Guihlungan City Task Force-ELCAC said that aside from burial needs, “families of the dead rebels were given food packs from CSWD, free fertilizer from City Agriculture, and P3,000.00 each family. Inday Espina-Varona/Rappler.com