Alleged NPA couple killed, high-powered guns seized

The scene of the encounter*

Two alleged members of the New People’s Army (NPA) were killed in an encounter with soldiers of the 79th Infantry (Masaligan) Battalion in Sitio Nabalas Dos, Brgy Canlusong, E.B Magalona, Negros Occidental, on Tuesday, October 17, the 79IB reported Wednesday.

Killed were Christian Job Joaquin Vargas, alias Nacio, a Squad 3 leader of the remnants of Northern Negros Front, and Mylene Malasabas Salgado, alias Iba/Shien/Ruth, a former NPA political instructor and current member of Squad 3, who are residents of Brgy Buenavista, Himamaylan City, Negros Occidental, the report said.

The couple were sent by the Regional Operations Command from Central Negros to reinforce the recovery efforts of the dismantled NPA Northern Negros Front, it added.

Jocelyn Vargas, the mother of Christian Vargas, said her son and Salgado, his live-in partner, were not NPA rebels. They were living peacefully as farmers in Barangay Canlusong, she said.

Salgado also sells food at a nearby school to augment the family income, she said.

She said on Tuesday afternoon her son and his partner had gone to harvest bananas to sell when they heard gunfire. The wallet of Salgado containing her daughter-in-law containing more than P1,000 was missing, the mother claimed.

Vargas and Salgado have existing warrants of arrest for attempted murder issued by Acting Presiding Judge Walter Zorilla of the Regional Trial Court Branch 56 based in Himamaylan City, the 79IB reported.

Vargas also has multiple existing warrants of arrest for the crime of murder with no recommended bail issued by the court in Kabankalan City, Negros Occidental. He was also involved in numerous violent atrocities including targeted killings, the ambush of Army and police officers and civilians, and extortion activities targeting big businesses, the Army added.

Lt. Col. Arnel Calaoagan, 79IB commander, said the encounter with about nine remnants of the dismantled Northern Negros Front of the Komiteng Rehiyon-Negros/Cebu/Bohol/Siquijor (KR-NCBS) that led to the death of the two took place at 5:15 p.m. Tuesday, following information from a civilian on the presence of armed men in the upland village.

The firefight lasted for about 15 minutes.

Recovered were a AR15 rifle, M-16 rifle, Garand rifle, four rifle grenades, two backpacks, assorted live ammunitions, medical paraphernalia, a cooking pot with rice, personal belongings, and subversive documents with high intelligence value, it added.

Calaoagan lauded the 79IB troops for their efforts against the remnants of the Northern Negros Front.

“The local residents played a crucial role in making this operation successful. It’s just unfortunate that the CTG (Communist Terrorist Group) continues to sacrifice the lives of their members just to pursue their criminal agenda. On behalf of the men and women of 79IB, I extend my condolences to the family of the deceased CTG members. This incident is a clear indication that the NPA do not value the lives of their members”, he said.

Calaoagan reiterated his call to the remaining CTGs to lay down their arms peacefully, avail the government’s Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program, and live a normal and peaceful lives with their families.
“There is no good future in the NPA organization. You could either be killed or live a life of constantly running and hiding,” Calaoagan added.*

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