By SHERWIN DE VERA
With report from KIMBERLIE QUITASOL
BAGUIO CITY (updated Apr 04, 8:00 pm) — Confirmed government casualties in the series of clashes between the police and communists rebels in Mountain Province now reached twelve, with the death of an officer and wounding of nine others (not eight as earlier reported) in a skirmish between the two forces this afternoon. An earlier battle in Bauko town on Friday, Mar 29 also took the life of a cop and wounded another.
Police Regional Office Cordillera (PROCor) Spokes Maj. Carolina Lacuata confirmed an earlier report that another clash happened today, April 2, between police forces and New People’s Army guerrillas. A resident from Bauko town reported at around 3:30 pm to Nordis that they heard gun fires coming from the forested area bordering their town and Tadian municipality.
According to PROCor account, an improvised explosive device, planted by the rebels, hit the government troops who were pursuing the rebels. The explosion resulted to one the death of Cpl. Marlon Casil and wounding of nine of his companions. The wounded troops were identified as Police Cpls. Marcelo Bayeng, Ramadick Meloy, Clifford Gama, Edwin Keya, John Calcaligong, Terence L Dulnuan (who was not mentioned on the earlier report), Pat. Erwin Calixto, PSSgt. Salvador Agallatiw, PMSgt. Alphedes Alvaro.
The extraction of those killed and wounded in the battle is underway while pursuit operation against the rebels continue said Lacuata.
Residents of at least three communities in Bauko town have been ordered by the local government to temporarily leave their dwellings as a safety precaution in relation to the recent clash, and continuing police and military operation against the rebels.
In a Facebook post, Arsenia Addon, tourism officer of Bauko announced the Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, in a predisaster conference, decided to implement a preemptive evacuation of Sitio Cotcot, Poblacion, and Sitios Luagan and Malupa of Abatan.
She said the evacuees will be sheltered in the multipurpose function hall inside the municipal government’s compound.
Residents were advised through punong barangay (barangay chief) Jimmy Cajihan on the matter and reminded to keep safe and be wary of possible dangers according to her
Three in a week
This is the third gun fight since Friday’s offensive launched by the NPA against the police belonging to the Cordillera Regional Mobile Force Battalion at Mount Kapuwao, Barangay Bagnen Proper to mark their 50th anniversary.
Two days after, March 31, another clash took place in Mt. Makilakilat in the adjacent northern barangays of the municipality of Tadian. The rebels earlier claimed that they encountered PNP troops but later corrected their account, saying they fought against members of the Philippine army. No casualties were reported on both sides in the second encounter.
The Leonardo Pacsi Command (LPC) took responsibility for both occurrences.
The national leadership of the Communist Party of the Philippines and NPA have called on their guerrilla units to step up the attacks against state forces in both their anniversary statements.
LPC announced in an earlier statement that their recent offensives are response to this directive and part of their contribution to rectify military conservatism in their ranks. # nordis.net