Six suspected members of the New People’s Army (NPA), including one female and two minors were arrested by the members of the 62nd Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army and the Philippine National Police in Barangay Luyang, Mabinay town in Negros Oriental on March 03, 2018.
Initial reports said that government troops encountered about 20 armed men believed to be members of the Regional Security Force of the Komiteng Rehiyon Negros of the CPP-NPA in Sitio Tumunon. The firefight lasted for about 45 minutes but no one was hurt on both sides.
According to Brig. Gen. Eliezer Losañes, commander of the 303rd Infantry Brigade of the Philippine Army in Negros Island, the female suspect is a 21-year-old Mass Communication graduate of the University of the Philippines in Cebu.
The two other apprehended were minors and were reportedly recruited form Negros Oriental and Negros Occidental. The six suspected NPA members were already presented to the Mabinay prosecutor’s office for inquest.
Authorities have recovered high-powered firearms, among them one M16A1, one M16A1 attached with M203 Grenade launcher, two M4 Rifles, one VLTOR (M16), one AG 43 (M16), rifle grenades, explosives, other war materiel, foodstuff, and alleged subversive documents.
The civilians reported about the armed men allegedly asking food and other provisions while others had reportedly fled their villages out of fear.
Losañes, said that sometime in the middle of last year, “we had already monitored the movement of the Regional Security Force of the Komiteng Rehiyong Negros, shifting from the 6th district of Negros Occidental to the areas of BATMAN,” referring to the acronym for the towns of Bindoy, Ayungon, Tayasan, and Manjuyod in Negros Oriental.
“This is their expansion area, and what the Army calls the “guerilla zone preparation”, and so they are going to expand, “hoping that they can create another front”, he added.
Troops on regular security patrol discovered alleged NPA encampments in Samac, Mabinay, and Panciao, Manjuyod.
Sr. Supt. Edwin Portento said that the police will take over and secure the suspect’s detention although they are currently under the custody of the Philippine Army for further disposition. He, however, did not disclose where they would be detained.
Charges stemming from the illegal possession of firearms and ammunition and explosives will be filed against them, Portento said.