By DateLine Philippines
BACOLOD CITY–Six suspected New People’s Army (NPA) rebels and an Army junior officer died Saturday in an hour-long gun battle in Sitio Aluyan, Brgy. Caduhaan, Cadiz City, Negros Occidental.
Colonel Maximo Caro, 303rd Infantry Brigade commander, said the military retrieved the bodies of the six NPA suspects, two of which were women.
Troopers of the 62nd IB also recovered an AR-18 assault rifle, M16 and M14 assault rifles that the fleeing rebels reportedly left behind.
Caro identified the slain Army officer as ILt. Archie Polenzo, commander of the 62nd Infantry Battalion Bravo Company.
He added that Polenzo led a platoon-sized unit from the 62nd IB that assaulted an estimated 20 to 30 armed rebels in Sitio Aluyan, Brgy. Caduhaan, Cadiz City.
Polenzo was joined by another group of soldiers, led by 2Lt. Russel Lucena, that served as blocking force, Caro said.
Military reports said the rebels were believed to be the same group that figured in an encounter with a militia team and elements of the 12th Infantry Battalion in Manapla town two weeks ago.
The said encounter saw two rebels killed in Brgy. San Pablo, which is adjacent to Brgy. Caduhaan in Cadiz City.
Caro said he got a text message from a resident in the barangay that reported the presence of armed rebels.
The bodies of the six rebels were turned over to Brgy. Caduhaan officials in Cadiz City for identification, and to allow the families of the slain rebels to claim their dead, the military said.
Polenzo was brought to the Alisbo Funeral Parlor in Bacolod City.
Senior Supt. Manuel Felix, provincial police director of Negros Occidental, alerted checkpoints in Manapla, Cadiz and neighboring areas to intercept fleeing rebels and to watch out for possible transport of injured rebels.
Caro said the rebels were believed to be members of the Platoon 1 Komiteng Larangan-Northern Negros that are tasked to collect revolutionary taxes from the different haciendas of Cadiz City and Manapla hinterlands. With a report from Anthony Vargas