Sixty-eight residents have fled from their homes after they were caught in the crossfire between state forces and rebels during their encounter at Barangay Trinidad, Guihulngan City, Negros Oriental, early this week.
Guihulngan Mayor Carlo Juan Reyes, in a statement sent Thursday, March 25, by his office to the Philippine Army, commended the skills and bravery of the soldiers and the police in neutralizing the alleged members of the New People’s Army (NPA) in the March 23 clash that led to the deaths of 10 guerilla fighters and arrest of two suspected rebels.
The mayor said that 68 evacuees were given shelter by the City Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict, and that none of them were injured.
He also said that the 10 dead “were offered with prayers, autopsied, cleaned, embalmed, and placed in coffins,” and now lie in state in the city’s auditorium waiting to be claimed by their families.
“After four days, if left unclaimed, they will be given a decent burial at the Guihulngan Public Cemetery,” the mayor added.
He also said, “this incident displays how capable our government forces are in actual combat. It also shows the stark difference between the life of a rebel who continues to fight, and that of one who has surrendered to our task force. One continues to live his life in peril, while the other is safe and sound and given full benefits.”
He added that he is praying that the other rebels will “make the right choice this time.”
Meanwhile, personnel of the Guihulngan Police Station conducted dialog and cascading against terrorism to the rescued families who were affected by the firefight between the government forces and the rebels, adding that “these people are safe” now.
The three-hour firefight of the Army and the NPA also led to the recovery of 11 high-powered firearms at the clash site.*