KANANGA, Leyte –Troops under Army’s 19th Infantry Battalion encountered New People’s Army rebels around 2:05 p.m. on June 17, 2014 at So. Nabunturan, Brgy. Patag, Ormoc City.
Lt. Col. Nedy C Espulgar, commanding officer of 19IB, said his troops were on to confirm reports previously tipped by civilians regarding presence of armed group roaming aforesaid hinterland village, when fired upon by undetermined number of NPA rebels.
The 30 minute firefight caused the rebels to withdraw from their position which was discovered to be an NPA encampment which can accommodate around 15 to 20 persons.
Recovered from the encounter site were three (3) unexploded claymore mines, magazines with ammunitions and back packs with personal belongings and subversive documents.
Espulgar furthered, his men were in advantage position during the firefight and managed to maneuver despite the difficult terrain. Withdrawing enemies were unable to inflict casualties against government forces. Rebels neither suffered casualties, but eye witnesses said that some of the fleeing rebels were severely wounded.
In an interview with Roberto Dejon of Leyteño Peryodiko, Espulgar said there will be no let-up in its support to the development programs it has introduced in the hinterland barangays of Ormoc, despite the Tuesday incident.
On the other hand, he is calling on the NPA rebels to surrender, take advantage of the government programs and return to the mainstream society.
“We will pursue with our development efforts, especially in our advocacy on Land Bank’s sustainable integrated natural and organic mini farm program. But our troops are always ready should similar eventuality arises”, Espulgar stressed.
It can be recalled that an NPA leader was apprehended by 19IB troops in the same village on January this year. According to Espulgar, 19IB and the Leyte Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office (PSWDO) are now facilitating the necessary assistance entitled for the said former NPA rebel. (Press release from 19IB, 8ID, PA)