2 NPA rebels killed in Davao del Sur clash
Two suspected New People's Army members were killed and another was arrested after an encounter with the government troops in Davao del Sur on Saturday morning.
Major Ezra Balagtey, Eastern Mindanao Command spokesman, identified one of the slain NPA members as Julito Pueblas alias Taghoy, allegedly the commanding officer of the Sentro de Grabidad, Guerrilla Front 51, Southern Mindanao Regional Committee.
Balagtey said the firefight took place in Sitio Bayongon, Barangay Astora, Sta. Cruz at around 11:25 a.m.
The other rebel fatality was not identified in the military report.
During the initial encounter, the troops were able to arrest a female member identified as Jessa Lumana, who allegedly yielded an M16 rifle, three improvised bombs, two rifle grenades and subversive flags.
The clash happened as troops were responding to a report by a concerned citizen about the presence of NPA members in Sitio Bayongon.
Balagtey said they tried to save Pueblas, but he died while being brought to the hospital.
Meanwhile, one soldier was reported wounded during the encounter.
EasMinCom Commander Lt. Gen. Benjamin Madrigal asked the communist rebels to surrender and heed the call for peace or face the long arm of the law.
"While it is unfortunate that alias Taghoy expired after he was rescued, and that he can no longer face his charges in proper court for his atrocities, we hope that this will give closure to the families of his victims. On our part, as soldiers of peace, our doors will continue to be open, and we are very much willing to facilitate the surrender of those who want to return to the folds of the law. Do not miss this golden opportunity that our government under President Rodrigo Roa Duterte is offering you," he said.
"Our troops with due regard to respect of human rights and adherence to International Humanitarian Law will continue to exert all our efforts to secure our communities and will not allow any threats to coerce and victimize our people," Madrigal added. Ella Dionisio/DMS