Some 53 families have been evacuated following the encounter between the New People’s Army (NPA) and the Philippine Army (PA) in Barangay Cabacnitan, Bilar early on Tuesday.
First Lt. Grace Remonde, spokesperson of the PA’s 47th Infantry Battalion (IB), said families who live near the clash site were temporarily taken to the village’s barangay hall while state troopers continued clearing operations in the area.
According to Remonde, the gun battle which left five rebels dead and one PA soldier wounded erupted in a forested location which is near a residential area and a highway.
The injured soldier was rushed to a hospital in Tagbilaran City and was already in stable condition.
No civilian was injured in the crossfire but Remonde noted that many residents were traumatized by the incident.
“Na trauma ni kay duol ra man gyud kaayo sa ilaha. Nahadlok sila mo balik pa pero og ma-clear na to, medyo ok na sila mamalik,” said Remonde.
The Army official said that villagers may be able to return to their homes within the day if the clearing operations are completed.
Meanwhile, some six rebels were believed to have fled to the hinterlands in Barangay Campagao and Barangay Bonificiao in Bilar.
“Ang Bilar man gud, ilaha man gyud ning lugar sukad pa sauna. So diri ra gyud na sila maglibot-libot unya di na man pareha sauna na daghan pa sila og masa mao na mo resulta gyud ta og encounter,” Remonde said.
According to Remonde, authorities were still verifying the identities of the slain rebels and determining their places of origin.
She noted that they have yet to pinpoint if the rebels are from Bohol or other provinces.
In a statement, the 3rd Infantry Division, the 47th IB’s parent unit, said that they found at the clash site two M16 rifles; five .45 caliber pistols; one bandolier; three short magazines of M16 with 30 rounds of ammunition; six cellular phones; one laptop; one grenade; one hand-held radio, and various subversive documents with high intelligence value. (R. Tutas)