Around 53 families in Barangay Cabacnitan, Bilar are set to undergo stress debriefing following the clash between New People’s Army (NPA) rebels and Philippine Army (PA) soldiers in the village at dawn on Tuesday.
First Lt. Grace Remonde, 47th Infantry Battalion spokesperson, said the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) will oversee the procedure which was deemed necessary considering that the firefight broke out near a residential area.
According to Remonde, the PA soldiers and the communist guerillas exchanged gunfire less than “100 meters” from the nearest village leaving many residents traumatized.
“Nakita ng mga siga-siga sa bala, kadtong mga naa sa area malisang jud siguro to og ngadto kaduol,” said Remonde.
During the encounter, residents in Barangay Cabacnitan were evacuated as state forces conducted clearing operations and were directed to take shelter at a village hall.
They were allowed to return to their homes at night on the same day as the clash.
No civilian was injured during the gun battle but five rebels including an NPA platoon vice commander were killed and one state soldier was injured during the early morning clash.
Six rebels were believed to have fled to the hinterlands of Barangay Bonifacio and Barangay Campagao.
In a separate statement, Remonde asked the public to remain vigilant and to report sightings of NPA rebels.
“We urge our fellow Boholanos to continuously report these CTGs who have been threatening our people in the countryside,” she said.
The Army official also called for government agencies to work together in addressing the insurgency at its roots.
“For as long as there are masses who support them including politicians and even businessmen, their illegal terroristic activities will continue to hamper the ongoing peace and development in the area,” she said. (R. Tutas)