TACLOBAN CITY – The Philippine Army on Friday recovered important documents believed to have been left behind by fleeing New People’s Army (NPA) fighters in a small house near the site of an encounter in Bontoc, Southern Leyte where two rebels and a soldier died.
The pursuing soldiers found the documents in upland Lawgawan village in Bontoc town just two days after the bloody clash on August 18.
Troops found four mobile phones, several identification cards, eight medical clearances issued by the municipal health office of Jabonga, Agusan del Norte on April 28, 2021 for the travel of eight town residents, photos of a few individuals, other documents, and some personal belongings.
Likewise, the wall of the house intriguingly bears the marking: “Komander GAS God bless our home Pulang Araw.”
Lt. Col. Ernesto dela Rosa, Philippine Army 14th Infantry Battalion commander, said he believes the discovered documents were left by fleeing members of the NPA band that clashed with the troops.
However, the real identity of those in the ID cards and medical certificates need to be verified.
The following names appeared in the medical clearances and some in the identification cards: Carmelo A. Arcibal, Elnar G. Aplan, Narciso G. Aplan, Albert M. Galecia, Regalado R. Palomo, Rolando Aplan, and Danny Bolambot.
“While it is not certain that those names appearing in the documents are indeed members of the communist terrorist group, there is still a need to ascertain why those papers were found near the encounter site,” dela Rosa said in a statement.
Brig. Gen. Zosimo Oliveros, commander of the Army’s 802nd Brigade, called on families, relatives, friends, and those who know these people to come out into the open and help authorities determine the circumstances behind the subject individuals.
The rebels were hiding in the jungles of Bontoc as government forces intensified their combat operations in Leyte.
The military managed to locate the small NPA lair on August 18 based on tips from villagers.
The area is about 16 km. upland from Bontoc’s town center.
The encounter site in the upland area of Bontoc is near the boundary of Hilongos, Leyte where NPA remnants are frequently sighted by locals.
The Communist Party of the Philippines-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines. (PNA)