From the Philippine News Agency (Apr 18, 2020): Suspected rebel killed, 7 others caught in Iloilo clash (By Gail Momblan)
OPS VS. REBELS. Lt. Col. Joel Benedict Batara, commander of 61st Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army, on Saturday (April 18, 2020) said a suspected member of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army was killed while seven others were captured in an encounter at Miagao town, Iloilo. The Army nabbed a 14-year-old suspected NPA member as they received complaints that the rebels were using the area to train recruits. (PNA file photo)
ILOILO CITY – A suspected member of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) was killed while seven others were captured during the encounter between the rebels and the Philippine Army’s 61st Infantry Battalion (61st IB) on Saturday at Miagao town, Iloilo.
The encounter took place at 10:20 a.m. at Sitio Anoy, Cabalaunan village, Lt. Col. Joel Benedict Batara, commander of 61st IB told the Philippine News Agency (PNA).
He said the government troops received complaints from the locals that the Suyak Platoon-Komiteng Rehiyon Panay of the CPP-NPA’s Southern Front under Joven Ceralvo is using the area a temporary training ground for their recruits.
“Before we received information that they are conducting massive recruitment and now we have complaints that they are already conducting training,” he said.
The Army launched a combat operation against around 40 members of the CPP-NPA.
Batara said a rebel was killed while seven others, including a 14-year-old boy, were captured.
“We recovered one body count—male, and is still unidentified; and seven captured that are all males believed to be NPA personalities,” he said.
The capture of the teenage boy is proof that the rebels are recruiting minors to their group, he said.
The captured CPP-NPA will be interrogated before they will be turned over to the Philippine National Police.
Recovered from the encounter site included a Garand rifle, a caliber .45 pistol, two 12 gauge shotguns, a homemade shotgun, two improvised explosive devices, seven backpacks, two bandoliers, two NPA flags, medical paraphernalia, and subversive documents.
“They knew that many have surrendered (to the government) and they have taken advantage of our efforts in the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) to conduct their training,” he said.
Batara said the Cabalaunan village, located 14 kilometers away from the town proper, is considered as an influence area of the rebels.
The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines.