The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Friday announced that the wounded rebel, captured during an encounter in Barangay Balayong,
, Negros Occidental Thursday morning,
is a ranking New People's Army (NPA) leader in the province. Pamplona
Lt. Col. Ramon Zagala, AFP public affairs office chief, identified the captured rebel as Jessie Dacaldacal, Squad Leader of Squad 2 and Vice Commanding Officer of Sentro de Grabidad (SDG) Platoon, Southeast Front, Komiteng Rehiyonal-Negros.
Dacaldal was immediately given first aid on the site of the encounter and was brought to
in . Dumaguete City
He is now in stable condition after sustaining a gunshot wound on the upper portion of his right chest and a splinter on his neck.
In the 7: 30 a.m. encounter with troopers of the 79th Infantry Battalion, two rebels were killed and five M-16 automatic rifles, including one fitted with an M-203 grenade launcher, were captured shortly after the 20-minute firefight.
"With the encounter, the NPAs continue to show signs of decline due to unceasing pressure from the military, law enforcement, and civilian organizations. Just last month, communist leaders Benito and Wilma Tiamzon and Andrea Rosal, three prominent figures in the communist insurgency, were arrested by government authorities," Zagala stressed.
AFP chief-of-staff Gen. Emmanuel T. Bautista earlier encouraged more rebels to abandon the armed struggle and be productive members of the mainstream society.
He also urged the communist group to follow the example set by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and to sincerely engage in the peace talks with the government to end the over four decades of violence.
Negros Oriental is targeted for normalization, a state when the local government takes the lead role in peace and security. Out of the 79 NPA-affected provinces, 43 are already normalized.