Iloilo town suspends classes in 16 villages after Army-NPA clash
ILOILO CITY — The municipal government of Janiuay town in Iloilo on Monday suspended classes in 16 hinterland villages following an armed clash between government troops and suspected communist rebels.
Janiuay Mayor Jose de Paula said he ordered the suspension of classes in the elementary and secondary levels in the villages to ensure the safety of students and teachers.
“We needed to ensure that there will be no further clashes and that the areas are clear of possible improvised explosive devices,” De Paula told the Inquierer in a telephone interview on Monday.
He said classes would resume on Tuesday.
A government militiaman died in the 15-minute clash around 3 p.m. on Sunday in Barangay Agcarope in Janiuay, according to a statement from the Army’s 301st Brigade.
Troops under the Army’s 61st Infantry Battalion were conducting a patrol when they clashed with about 10 rebels believed to be under the Central Front Committee of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) in Panay. Soldiers recovered two M16 rifles, an AK 47 rifle, and personal belongings from the encounter site.
“The Army will continue to be on the offensive in order to stop NPA (New People’s Army) extortion. I encourage the people to report NPA activities in your area,” Col. Benedict Arevalo, 301st Brigade commander, said in the statement.
Sunday’s clash was the ninth since July 21 in Panay, according to the 301st Brigade.
On Friday, clashes were also reported in Leon town in Iloilo and Maayon town in Capiz.
But the NPA’s Napoleon Tumagtang Command, which operates in Southern Panay, belied the reported encounter in Leon town.
Ka Ariston Remus, the rebel command’s spokesperson, said in a statement that a “misencounter” between government troops had happened in Leon. /ee
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