Major Charlemagne Batayola, Jr., information chief of the 7thy Infantry Division, said that a day after the first encounter where the rebel was killed in Decoliat, government troopers again clashed with about 25 fully-armed men at Sitio Dayap, Barangay Punglo also in Maria Aurora.
Batayola said elements of the 48th Infantry Battalion led by Cpl. Benjamin Macarubbu were verifying an intelligence report on alleged presence of NPA guerrillas in the area when fired upon by the latter, which was led by a certain Benjamin Peralta alias Onli.
The rebels belonged to the Central Platoon of the NPA Central Luzon.
Lt. Col. Elias Escarcha, 48th IB commander, reinforced the soldiers by sending more troopers from the unit’s Charlie Company which conducted a clearing operation and hot pursuit operation, the military said.
“We had crushed out the New Peoples Army in Nueva Ecija and Aurora provinces. Their mass base support is waning and eventually the long arm of the law will finally catch up on them,” said Brig. Gen. Emmanuel Bautista, commander of the 702nd Brigade that holds jurisdiction over 48th IB.
He stressed that while the government troopers run after combatants, the Social Integration Program (SIP) that offers livelihood package to returnees is being offered.