From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 21): (Update) WESCOM confirms clash between military troops, NPA in Palawan
The Western Command (WESCOM) Headquarters here has confirmed early Friday afternoon the clash that transpired between government peacekeepers and armed rebels in Bataraza, southern Palawan.
A statement released by WESCOM through its spokesperson, Captain Cherryl Tindog, claimed the armed row between elements of the Marine Battalion Landing Team-4 (MBLT-4) and the New People’s Army (NPA) happened around 10:40 a.m. at Sitio Ilyan, Barangay Malihud, Bataraza.
Bataraza is also the town where a roadside IED explosion perpetrated by the NPA failed to seriously hurt four troops of the MBLT-4 on July 18 in Barangay Bono-Bono.
“This morning, July 21, while providing honors to two fallen Marines at the Naval Forces West (NAVFORWEST), Team WESCOM received tip offs from local residents that armed rebels had been seen within the vicinity of Sitio Ilyan, Barangay Malihud,” said the statement.
In response to reports of armed rebel sightings, WESCOM dispatched a team of Marines in the said barangay, and eventually, a firefight followed, lasting until shortly before lunchtime.
Clearing operations are still being conducted in the area, but WESCOM said the Marines already “discovered blood stains from an undetermined number of wounded rebels in an area at Sitio Ilyan.”
They also found a bag that contained improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and gun magazines with ammunition.
“The Marines found a carrier bag containing improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and magazines with ammunition belonging to the rebels. With the discovery of the IEDs, Team WESCOM thwarted the CPP-NPA-NDF (Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front) from perpetrating roadside bombing intentions that can injure innocent civilians,” claimed the statement.
WESCOM stated the tip offs from residents only show that they are winning in fostering effective relationships with the communities in Bataraza through incessant humanitarian activities.
This shows too, it said, that residents of Palawan have become more alert now against the communist-terrorist group and want its atrocities ended by working with the government to ensure that the province remains safe for their families.
“With this good working relationship with the communities, Team WESCOM assures that it will remain defending their peace and security, as well as Palawan's development and progress,” the statement stressed.
The two fallen Marines being given honor when the clash transpired were Pfc. Joene Galiste and Pvt. James Melchor Porol of the Marine Battalion Landing Team-12 (MBLT-12).
They were killed in Barangay Magara, Roxas on April 19 by two gunmen believed to be members of the NPA.