DAVAO CITY – Three soldiers were killed while two others were wounded in a series of clashes yesterday with New People’s Army in Pantukan, Compostela Valley, the Army reported on Thursday.

Army spokesman Captain Rhyan Batchar said the first gunbattle happened in Sitio Sapang Tin-aw, Barangay Tibagon in Pantukan at 1:00 pm when a platoon of soldiers encountered 60 NPAs belonging to Pulang Bagani Command 3.

“The exchange of gunfires lasted for 30 minutes and forced the rebels to scamper in different directions. While the soldiers were clearing the enemy positions, the withdrawing NPAs detonated IEDs [improvised explosive device] killing two soldiers and wounding two others,” he said.

Batchar said the second clash happened at 6:00 pm in Sitio Biasong, Barangay Napnapan, also in Pantukan.

He said the NPAs, numbering around 10, fired upon a platoon from the Bravo Company of the 46th Infantry Battalion.

Batchar identified the casualties in Barangay Tibagon as First Lieutenant Ralph Pantonial and Private First Class Eulezys Bantulo, while soldiers identified only as Private First Class Sabido and Corporal Velunta were wounded. A Pfc. Moreno was killed in the second incident.

Batchar said the Army believes that large formations of NPAs are in Pantukan.

Major General Rafael Valencia, 10th Infantry Division commander expressed his grief on the death of the soldiers

“The 10ID shall remain to be a strong military organization and will be relentless in our campaign against the NPAs,” said Valencia. (davaotoday.com)

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