Two soldiers sustained minor injuries in the hour-long gun battle between troops of the Philippine Army’s 47th Infantry Battalion and suspected New People’s Army (NPA) rebels in Campagao, Bilar at dawn on Tuesday.
Lieutenant Col. Eufracio Malig Jr., commander of the 47th IB told dyRD Balita that the injured troopers were no longer taken to the hospital as they were only given first aid treatment.
According to Malig, Cpl. Joel Campilanos was grazed on his cheek while Pfc. Kenneth Vallota suffered a cut on his finger.
“Parang talsik yata ng [bala]. Hindi na, hindi na dinala sa ospital parang first aid lang kasi minor lang naman eh,” said Malig.
Meanwhile, a civilian who was reportedly caught in the crossfire, Domingo Omac, 33, of Barangay Dagohoy, Bilar, remained in safe condition.
He was treated for a wound in his left leg at the Governor Celestino Gallares Memorial Hospital in Tagbilaran City.
Earlier, Col. Ignacio Madriaga, commander of the 302nd Infantry Brigade, confirmed that the armed group in Bilar was being led by alleged NPA commander Domingo “Cobra” Compoc.
Authorities received reports on the sighting of armed men believed to be “security forces” of Compoc in Bilar at past 4 a.m. on Tuesday prompting the 47th IB to deploy troops to Campagao.
The clash erupted shortly after at around 5 a.m. and ended at 5:50 a.m. as the alleged rebels fled the area leaving various weapons, ammunition and subversive documents.
Army troopers were reportedly able to seize an Ingram machine pistol with two extra magazines, four AK-47 magazines, 14 hammocks, medical supplies, documents, cellphone, two caps marked with “CPP-NPA-NDF” and a red star, and personal items.
For his part, Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) chief Anthony Damalerio said that 39 families comprised of 219 individuals from the villages of Zamora and Campagao in Bilar were given food packs and provided stress debriefing after the clash.
The relief operations were led by the Office of the Provincial Social Welfare and Development, Red Cross, army, Philippne National Police, PDRRMO and TaRSIER 117. (Rey Tutas)