Members of the Philippine Army’s 47th Infantry Battalion reportedly clashed with suspected New People’s Army (NPA) rebels in an hour-long gun battle in Barangay Campagao, Bilar on Tuesday morning, a day after the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan polls and during the town’s fiesta.
The encounter was confirmed by Col. Ignacio Madriaga of the 302nd Infantry Brigade in an interview with dyRD Balita.
The firefight erupted at around 4:30 a.m. on Tuesday.
Personnel of the police and army reportedly fought off around 14 armed men.
According to Madriaga, the security forces responded to reports that there was an armed group going around the said village asking for food.
“Malaking possibility kasi may mga reports din na nandon sila even before the election na nag-e-extortion, yung mga usual criminal activity nila, tinatakot yung mga tao, hinihingan ng bigas,” said Madriaga when asked on the possibility that the armed persons were NPA guerrillas.
Madriaga however said that clearing operations are still ongoing and they are still determining if the group was indeed comprised of NPA rebels.
The army troops had limited visual as it was still dark during the encounter, said Madriaga.
No casualties have been reported so far on the side of the government and the armed group.
Dennis Remedio, the barangay captain of Campagao, said that a civilian was hit in the crossfire and was rushed to a hospital in Tagbilaran City.
Later reports indicated that the injured person identified as Domingo Omac, 31, was already in stable condition.
Prior to the clash, Bohol has been considered insurgency-free for over a decade. (R. Tutas)