BACOLOD CITY -- Three Army soldiers belonging to the 79th Infantry Battalion (79IB) were slightly injured during a clash with communist rebels at Sitio Puting Tubig, Barangay Minautok in Calatrava, Negros Occidental on Wednesday morning.
A report from the 303rd Infantry Brigade said the troopers sustained shrapnel wounds after the New People’s Army (NPA) fired an M203 grenade launcher.
The three are now in stable condition, it added.
In a statement, Lt. Col. Emelito Thaddeus Logan, commanding officer of 79IB, said the continuous encounters of their troops with the NPA show that the communities no longer want the enemies’ presence.
“We will relentlessly pursue the NPAs and stop their illegal and extortion activities,” he added.
Logan, however, said the Philippine Army also gives a chance to the communist rebels to surrender peacefully and enjoy the benefits provided by the government.
At around 5:30 a.m. on Wednesday, government troops encountered some 30 NPA fighters in a firefight that lasted for about an hour.
According to the 79IB, there could have been five casualties on the side of the NPA, based on the bloodstains found. Local residents also provided information on the possible number of casualties.
The troops recovered a magazine with eight rounds of ammunition for Garand carbine rifle, three mobile phones, two power banks, a memory card, a hammock, and 10 kilos of rice, among others.
Last April 17, troops of 79IB also encountered a group of communist rebels in Barangay Marcelo, Calatrava, which left three NPA guerrillas dead.
The Communist Party of the Philippines-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines. (PNA)