DUMAGUETE CITY – Government troops have recovered two more bodies and arrested a minor and another male, both suspected members of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) following an encounter in Sitio Agit, Barangay Trinidad in Guihulngan City, Negros Oriental.
The discovery brought to 10 the total number of bodies retrieved by the 62nd Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army following the three-hour clash Tuesday afternoon, said Capt. Kelvin Bayaban, the battalion’s information officer/spokesperson, in an interview on Thursday.
The two bodies were recovered during the clearing operations at the vicinity of the encounter site in Sitio Agit on Wednesday, he said.
Initially, eight bodies were retrieved after the gun battle, along with a cache of high-powered firearms, improvised explosive devices, ammunition, and suspected subversive documents.
Meanwhile, one of the two suspected NPA members was identified as a 17-year-old-boy from Barangay Budlasan in Canlaon City, Negros Oriental. The other was not identified due to security reasons.
Police Senior Master Sgt. Anito T. Labrador, operations non-commissioned officer of the Guihulngan City Police Station, in a separate interview, said only one of the two captured suspected NPA members was turned over to them.
The boy, he said, had a slight injury and being a minor is now in the custody of the city’s Social Welfare and Development Office.
All of the slain suspected NPA members remain unidentified and unclaimed as of today (Thursday), Labrador said.
They will be buried after a few days if none are claimed by their respective next of kin, he added.
In a related development, several families have fled their homes following Tuesday’s clash as government troops continue with their relentless operations to pursue the suspected NPA rebels.
An initial report relayed to the Army said the families have sought refuge at the Trinidad Elementary School (10); Panagtugas Elementary School (33); a church in Budlasan (10); Sitio Tuko (five); and Sitio Kasingan (two).
The evacuees were already given food packs by the city through its Social Welfare Office, Labrador said.
Government troops continue with their combat operations in the area as they anticipate a mass gathering of the NPA as it celebrates its anniversary on March 29.
The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand. (PNA)