The Philippine Army in Western Visayas vehemently denied that there were casualties on the government side during the series of encounters between the state troopers and suspected rebels at Barangay Caningay, Candoni, Negros Occidental, on Tuesday, July 20.
The encounters also prompted some families in the area to flee their homes for their safety.
The New People’s Army (NPA) alleged Thursday, July 22, that five soldiers from the 15th Infantry Battalion (IB) died in the clashes, and more were reported wounded, a claim that was denied by Maj. Cenon Pancito III, spokesperson of the 3rd Infantry Division based in Jamindan, Capiz.
Pancito, in a video statement, said the allegations of the rebels are all lies, and that nobody from the government side died during the encounters.
He also said that troopers found blood trails at the encounter site, which they suspect to have come from the fleeing rebels.
Pancito dared the rebels to support their claims with evidence.
He also said that a suspected rebel was arrested in the area during the clearing operation, and was already turned over to the local police.
The name of the suspect was not released.*