329 residents evacuate in Negros Occidental as Army, NPA clash

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 2) — More than 300 residents were forced to evacuate their homes due to an encounter between government forces and suspected members of the New People’s Army (NPA) in Barangay Paitan, Escalante City, Negros Occidental on Saturday, the military said.

The firefight, which lasted for around 45 minutes, injured three soldiers and one civilian.

First Lieutenant Revekka Roperos, of the 303rd Infantry Brigade Civil Military Operations, on Sunday identified the wounded as Cpl. Homer Aniversario, Cpl. Ronald Tuhao, and Cpl. Jerald Caluyo. The injured soldiers are now in stable condition, Roperos said.

About 30 NPA fighters allegedly detonated an anti-personnel mine. A detonating wire, a utility rope, two G-Shock wrist watches, subversive documents and pamphlets, a hammock, an NPA cap and assorted personal belongings were also recovered from the sceme.

Photo courtesy of Negros Army

Roperos said 109 families, composed of 329 individuals, fled from their homes in Sitio Morino and neighboring Sitio Kagayon. They are now temporarily staying at the Paitan Elementary School.

More soldiers have been deployed in the area to track down the fleeing rebels, Roperos added. Members of the Philippine Air Force have also been tapped for the operations.

Journalist Shiela Gelera contributed to this report.