A woman and two children were among six communist rebels captured after a clash with government troops in Negros Oriental province.
Seized from the suspects in Mabinay town today (Saturday, March 3) were four M16 assault rifles with grenade launchers, two M4 assault rifles, a quantity of explosives and what were described as “subversive documents”.
Lieutenant Colonel Darrel Banes, 62nd Infantry Battalion commanding officer, said his troops went to Barangay Luyang, in Mabinay, today to check on reports that about 20 New People’s Army (NPA) rebels were engaged in extortion activities.
Upon arrival, they were met by gunfire, which prompted the soldiers to fire back. The battle lasted for about 45 minutes, ending in the capture of the six fighters.
Lt. Col. Banes declined to identify the captured woman, but said she was a graduate of Mass Communications from the University of the Philippines-Cebu.
Lawyer Liza Corro, the university’s chancellor, has confirmed in an official statement that the arrested woman was indeed a graduate of the university.
“We have no information about her current involvements. But I believe she is entitled to due process and is considered innocent until proven otherwise,” she added.
Lt. Col. Banes said the recruitment of minors to join the armed struggle was a “clear manifestation of gross violation” on the Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act. The sex and age of the children has not been verified.
Before the encounter this morning, Captain Eduardo Precioso, a spokesman for the 3rd Infantry Division, said that two rebel camps, were discovered abandoned last week in Barangay Samac, also in Mabinay, and Barangay Panciao in nearby Manjuyod.
Also last week, a tractor in La Castelana, Negros Occidental, and a cargo truck in Canlaon City, Negros Oriental, were separately burned by rebels. Responsibility for the burnings was later claimed by the NPA’s Leonardo Panaligan Command in central Negros.