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PIA Press Release

Troops encounter NPA in Bgy. Balanac; civilians hurt by escaping enemy fire

Camp Elias Angeles, Pili, Cam. Sur (23 February) -- A group of rebels conducting a meeting with some civilians in Barangay Balanac, Ligao City were encountered by the 2nd Infantry Battalion led by 2Lt Tancio of the Philippine Army, Wednesday, February 18 this year.

9th Infantry Division PIO Maj. Christopher Morales narrated "the rebels, caught by surprise by the patrolling military operatives, scampered and withdrew in different directions to evade the approaching government troops."

"They were firing indiscriminately as they fled and two civilians were hit and wounded during the ensuing gunfire. The victims were later brought to the nearest hospital by barangays officials assisted by government troops," he added.

Follow-on operations were conducted to track down the fleeing enemy. There is no reported casualty from the government forces.

In a statement, Morales said that the involvement of civilian casualties in this encounter is a blatant disregard for human rights by the rebel group.

"This is not the first time that civilians were drawn between the corssfires of the government and its enemies, and unfortunately, this may not be the last. Our enemies obviously have very low regard for other people's lives and welfare," remarked Morales.

Furthermore, he asserted in a message addressed to residents in rural areas frequented nby these communist terrorist groups that they should be wary and cautious in dealing with the renegades in order to avoid untoward incidents like what happened in Barangay Balanac. (PA/PIA) [top]

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