Troopers of the Philippine Army’s 79th Infantry Battalion check several boxes of medicines amounting to almost PHP300,000 recovered by their team after an encounter with the New People’s Army rebels in Barangay Mabini, Escalante City, Negros Occidental on the night of March 21. (Photo courtesy of 79th Infantry Battalion, Philippine Army)
BACOLOD CITY -- The Philippine Army’s 303rd Infantry Battalion (303IB) is tracing the source of the medicines worth almost PHP300,000 seized by government troops from communist rebels they encountered in Escalante City, Negros Occidental on Thursday night.
Brig. Gen. Benedict Arevalo, commander of the 303IB based in Murcia town, said it was his first time, in his long years in the military service, to see such a huge volume of medicines recovered following a clash with the New People’s Army (NPA).
“’Yan ngayon ang aming tinutu-unan ng pansin dahil mukhang may pinanggalingan na kailangan nating malaman sino at ano at paano nakaabot ‘yang ganyan karaming gamot (We’re looking into this. We need to know the source and how these huge volume of medicines reached (the NPA),” Arevalo said in the 303rd Brigade Hour radio program here on Sunday.
During the clearing operations, troopers of the 79th Infantry Battalion (79IB) recovered several boxes containing various types of branded over-the-counter medicines manufactured by a popular Filipino pharmaceutical company.
They also found a logbook containing an inventory of all the medicines. The first list showed a total amount of PHP207,850 and below it, was written PHP272,850. In the lower part of the page, a list of four medicines had a total worth of PHP26,800.
Arevalo said the Army can only guess what the communist rebels would do with all the medicines.
“Pamimigay ba nila? Magce-celebrate ba uli sila ng anniversary at hikayatin ang mga taong bayan pumunta sa kanilang pagpulung-pulong at sasabihin mamimigay ng gamot para dumami ang mag-a-attend (Will they give these away? Will they again celebrate their anniversary and tell the people they are distributing medicines to convince them to attend their meetings),” the Army official added.
Arevalo said it is possible because that has always been the modus operandi employed by the NPA, just like what they did during the 50th anniversary of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) last December.
They told the people that there is a wedding ceremony and a party in the barangay to convince them to come, he added.
Aside from the medicines, the 79IB troopers also recovered several boxes of canned goods. (PNA)