TACLOBAN CITY – A young female fighter of the New People’s Army (NPA) was killed in an encounter with government troops on the outskirts of Kananga, Leyte on Friday afternoon.
The Kananga town police identified the fatality as Rochelle Mae Bacalso, alias Ruth, 21, a newly recruited member of the remnants of Sub-Regional Committee Levox, Eastern Visayas Regional Party Committee, of the Communist Party of Philippines(CPP).
The gunfight took place in the upland village of Mahawan at about 3:35 p.m. on Friday when a band of armed rebels attempted to ambush a team of patrolling soldiers, the Philippine Army reported early Saturday.
The Philippine Army’s 93rd Infantry Battalion deployed soldiers in the area acting on reports from residents on the presence of members of the communist-terrorist group.
Seized after the 15-minute clash were an Austrian-made Glock pistol, a bandolier for M16 magazines, a magazine for an M16 rifle with 29 pieces of caliber 5.56 ammunition, a backpack with personal belongings, a mobile phone, four hammocks, four poncho tents, and documents with high intelligence value.
The fallen young NPA fighter is the same woman identified by the Philippine Army’s 802nd Infantry Brigade after a clash with rebels in mid-September as a recruit who joined the NPA band led by a certain Juanito Selleza, alias Tibor.
The army brigade then appealed to the public for help in locating her family in Samar Island or elsewhere in the region to rescue her from the NPA leaders who persuaded her to join the armed struggle.
Facial photos taken from the remains matched Bacalso’s photos, which were downloaded from her Facebook account bearing the pseudo name of “Kenlyn Mark”.
Three unmistakable moles under her lower lip confirmed her identity.
“Again, I am reiterating my appeal to the local communist-terrorist group members to abandon the armed struggle and return to the mainstream of the society and become productive citizens,” said Brig. Gen. Zosimo A. Oliveros, commander of the Army’s 802nd Infantry Brigade based in Ormoc City, Leyte.
The NPA, the armed wing of the CPP, is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines. Philippine News Agency