Vizcaya villagers flee homes over NPA-AFP firefight

BAYOMBONG, Nueva Vizcaya – At least 19 families and 9 other villagers have sought refuge in the municipality of Kasibu town following a recent firefight between New People’s Army (NPA) rebels and government troopers.

The firefight which happened in the mountains of barangays Dine, Catarawan and Paquet left four soldiers killed and another wounded in the firefight.

Robert Corpuz, Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management officer, said they have augmented the resources of the Municipal Disaster Rsik Reduction Office in Kasibu town to assist the evacuees in terms of food and other needs.

He said the evacuees left the hotspot area for fear of being hit in the crossfire between government soldiers and the communist rebels.

“We are still on a standby mode to provide other needs of the evacuees which can also increase as a hot pursuit operations is now undertaken by the military,” Corpuz said.

The recent encounter between the NPA rebels and government troopers left Staff Sergeant Dexter John Tagacay of Tumauini, Isabela; Corporal Jayson Sabado of Lupao, Nueva Ecija, Corporal Rusty Galan and Private First Class Abraham Lindo — all from the 84th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army based in Dupax del Norte town of the 7th Infantry Division and wounded a certain Corporal Jerby Soriano.

No civilian, however, was hurt during the firefight in September 1 which lasted past noon.

Early reports from the Provincial Peace and Order Council (PPOC) here said NPA sightings have increased in the tri-boundaries of Nueva Vizcaya such as in Nueva Ecija, Aurora and Quirino provinces.

PPOC report said the NPA has long been using the government’s peace process to recruit and re-establish their stronghold in remote barangays. ALM/Ben Moses Ebreo/PIA 2-Nueva Vizcaya