From the Philippine News Agency (Sep 6): Army, NPA in 15-minute firefight in Iloilo town
Members of the Philippine Army’s 61st Infantry Battalion (61st IB) and about 10 members of the New People’s Army (NPA) engaged in a 15-minute firefight in Sitio Ali, Barangay Malublub, Leon town, Iloilo province early Thursday.
Col. Benedicto Arevalo, Commander of the 301st Infantry Brigade, said there was no casualty among the government troops, whose number was not revealed by the Army for security reasons.
Arevalo added that they could not determine if any of the NPA fighters belonging to the Sibat Platoon, Komiteng Rehiyon-Panay, got hurt.
The troops were patrolling Sitio Ali at about 4:50 a.m. when they encountered the rebels, he said. The rebels withdrew to the nearby village of Gines.
He said the encounter was the result of their strengthened and relentless patrols in response to information from the communities about the presence of NPA rebels in their areas.
“We are continuously receiving reports from concerned citizens, that is why we are taking action to protect our people,” he said.
Arevalo said the military has recorded seven encounters with the rebels since July 21.
Residents, particularly those of Malublub, have reported that the rebels were preparing to do extortion activities in the area.
“That is what we are addressing because the people are harmed by their extortion activities,” he said.
Arevalo said the encounter was also the result of their relentless pursuit against the rebels after the wounding of an employee of Century Peak Energy Corp. in Barangay Igcabucao, Igbaras, Iloilo last August 29.
On Aug. 24, three police officers of the Iloilo Police Provincial Mobile Force Company were wounded in a clash with the NPAs in Leon, Iloilo.
“We will be relentless in our pursuit of these perpetrators, as well as in conducting patrol operations to protect our people,” he said.
“We are encouraging the people of Panay to report any NPA activity in their area in order to put an end to their extortion activities,” he added.