Monday, September 2, 2019

700 people evacuate after clash in northern Negros

From the Philippine News Agency (Sep 2, 2019): 700 people evacuate after clash in northern Negros

DISPLACED. Mayor Melecio Yap Jr. (center) of Escalante City, Negros Occidental; and Lt. Col. Emelito Thaddeus Logan (right), commanding officer of 79th Infantry Battalion, visit displaced residents in one of the evacuation centers on Monday (Sept. 2, 2019). The visit followed an encounter between Philippine Army troops and New People’s Army fighters in Sitio Morino, Barangay Paitan over the weekend. (Photo courtesy of 79th Infantry Battalion, Philippine Army)

Some 700 residents of two villages in Escalante City, Negros Occidental were displaced following an encounter between Philippine Army troops and New People’s Army (NPA) fighters over the weekend.

As of Monday, those evacuated included 371 individuals from two sitios of Libertad, and 329 from
three sitios of Paitan, where the clash, which claimed the lives of five communist rebels and injured three soldiers, took place.

Lt. Col. Emelito Thaddeus Logan, commanding officer of the 79th Infantry Battalion (IB), said the internally-displaced persons are staying in two schools while government forces are conducting clearing operations.

He acknowledged the city government and concerned government agencies for extending assistance to the affected residents after the Army formed a joint quick reaction team on Saturday.

“I highly appreciate the concerned citizens and the responsive local government unit in extending sincere help in conflict situation,” Logan said.

On Monday, Mayor Melecio Yap Jr. declared the cancellation of classes in Paitan Elementary School and Libertad Elementary School, which serve as evacuation centers, until the two villages are safe and cleared.

The affected residents are being provided with relief goods, food, medical consultation, and also undergoing stress management sessions.

“The 79IB does not desire the encounter to occur, but it is our duty to render sustainable security operations in our area of responsibility,” Logan said.

He added that 79IB troops conduct preventive actions against the communist-terrorist group in response to the concerns of Escalante residents on the presence of NPA rebels.

During the clash at Sitio Morino, Corporals Homer Aniversario, Ronald Tuhao, and Jerald Caluyo were slightly wounded after they were hit by splinters of anti-personnel (AP) mine detonated by the NPA.

They were among the troops of 79IB, who engaged in a 45-minute gunfight with some 30 rebels around 6:45 a.m., following reports of NPA presence in the area.

The soldiers were not able to recover the bodies of the five rebel casualties, but saw enemies dragging them away as also witnessed by local residents.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.