Columbio Mayor Edwin Bermudez, in a radio interview, said the recent fighting between elements of the 25th Infantry Battalion and of Front 72 of the New Peoples’ Army (NPA) has brought fear to school children at the Elementary School at Barangay Telafaz.
The school is just 300 meters away from the scene of battle.
Reports said that on July 12, around 8 a.m., school children were jolted when they heard gunshots nearby.
Residents near the area were also scared when they heard the gunshots. The fighting lasted for an hour, reports said.
“We, including our leaders in the barangay, consider transferring the detachment to a place far away from the town proper to prevent civilians from being caught in the crossfire,” said Bermudez.
But when asked how soon he would act on it, he said they were “still on the planning stage,” although he admitted that the need was urgent.
“Anytime, anywhere, the fighting can erupt, knowing the Army is firm on running after the communist rebels in the area,” he said.
The July 12 incident was the third to happen in Columbio town since May this year.
Last May, two clashes occurred between the 25th IB and communist rebels, resulting in the death of one B’laan who was suspected to be an NPA guerilla and the arrest of two villagers suspected of bombing the Army detachment. (Malu Cadelina Manar/MindaNews)