Army junior officer, 2 soldiers killed in ComVal clashes vs NPA
An Army junior officer and two soldiers were killed in a series of clashes with communist rebels in Compostela Valley on Wednesday.
Captain Rhyan Batchar, public affairs officer of the Army’s 10th Infantry Division (10ID), said on Thursday that the first incident took place in Sitio (sub-village) Sapang Tin-aw in Barangay (village) Tibagon in Pantukan town around 1 p.m.
A platoon of soldiers from the 46th Infantry Battalion encountered around 60 members of the New People’s Army (NPA) belonging to the Pulang Bagani Command 3 of the Southern Mindanao Regional Committee for 30 minutes.
When the soldiers were clearing NPA positions, the withdrawing rebels set off improvised explosive devices, which killed two soldiers and wounded two others.
First Lieutenant Ralph Pantonial and Private First Class (PFC) Eulezys Bantulo were killed from the blast, while PFC Sabido and Corporal Velunta were injured.
Pantonial, 28, commanding officer of the Charlie Company, is a member of the Philippine Military Academy Class of 2010.
Meanwhile, the second incident happened at Sitio Biasong in Barangay Napnapan, also in Pantukan around 6 p.m, Batchar said.
Around 10 rebels fired at a platoon of soldiers from the Bravo Company of the same battalion.
“After a five-minute firefight, the rebels withdrew and burned two houses at Purok 7 of the same sitio during their escape,” Batchar said.
PFC Moreno lost his life in the second incident.
“These incidents confirmed the assessment of the 10ID that large formations of NPAs are in Pantukan,” Batchar said.
The NPA is believed to be strongest in Davao region. The military estimated that there are still around 4,000 communist rebels in the whole country. RAM