6 NPA rebels slain in Negros Occidental clash
BACOLOD CITY—Six suspected leaders of the New People’s Army (NPA) operating in the Visayas were killed in a clash with government soldiers in Kabankalan City, Negros Occidental, on Thursday night, military officials said.
Brig. Gen. Joey Escanillas, 302nd Infantry Brigade commander, said the fatalities were members of the South-Western Front of the NPA’s Komiteng Rehiyon-Negros, Cebu, Bohol and Siquijor.
A military report identified them as Alejo delos Reyes, leader of Squad 2 of the NPA’s Sangay Yunit Propaganda Platoon 3; Marjon Alvior and Bobby Pedro, vice squad leaders of the platoon; Mario Fajardo Mullon, Squad 1 medic; Melissa dela Peña, Reyes’ wife; and a still unidentified woman.
Reports said soldiers were responding to a tip from residents in Sitio Lubi, Barangay Tabugon, about the presence of armed rebels asking for food from villagers around 8 p.m. on Thursday.
A 10-minute firefight ensued between the government troopers and the communist rebels, Escanillas said. The report did not say if any government soldier was wounded in the gunfight.
Recovered from the clash site were four .45-caliber pistols, a .38-caliber revolver, a hand grenade, magazines and bullets, electronic gadgets, personal belongings and several antigovernment documents “of high intelligence value,” the military said.
Kabankalan Mayor Benjie Miranda said the six fatalities were not from Barangay Tabugon, as verified by the village chief.
Miranda said they had yet to confirm reports saying one of the women slain was pregnant.
Authorities said the slain rebels were part of the group linked to the killing of soldiers in Cauayan town in April 2021 and in Sipalay City in November 2022.
The latest clash in Negros Occidental happened two weeks after six suspected NPA rebels were killed in a series of encounters in Bilar, Bohol, on Sept. 7.
Maj. Gen. Marion Sison, 3rd Infantry Division commander, described the clash in Kabankalan as a big blow to the NPA.
“We are again calling on the remaining [NPA rebels] to return to the fold of the law, avail themselves of the government’s program and live peacefully with their loved ones,” he said.
“Rather than suffering the same fate as your comrades who wasted their lives in a useless and futile armed struggle, decide and choose the path to peace while there is still time,” he added. INQ