ComVal residents flee due to air strike
ABOUT 200 families in Compostela Valley evacuated over the weekend after the military launched aerial strikes in Mabini following an encounter with the New People’s Army (NPA).

Around 2 p.m. last Saturday, troopers of the 46th Infantry Battalion encountered the communist rebels in Patawan, Barangay Cabuyoan, Manini.

Three helicopters were then seen hovering around the town. Two of the helicopters launched aerial attacks, sending residents of Sitio Magpalusong, Post 2 and Patawan to seek refuge in Cabuyoan Elementary School in the said town. Among those who reportedly evacuated were pregnant women and children.

Capt. Edson Abello, Civil Military Officer of the 1001st Infantry Brigade, confirmed the aerial strikes. Abello said they requested for close air support to extricate three wounded soldiers.

PFCs. Jay Mark Cornelio, Pablo Rebato Jr., and Jerry Dequinco sustained injuries when a planted improvised explosive went off.

Mabini Mayor Reynaldo Dayanghirang said the affected residents have started to return after Cabuyoan barangay captain Romeo Aban assured the place is already safe.

Dayanghirang confirmed the families evacuated for fear of being caught in the crossfire.

The mayor assured assistance through the municipal social services office.

Dayanghirang said there was civilian casualty during the aerial strike.

The air strike came a day after President Rodrigo Duterte issued a verbal order allowing the military to use all its assets to run after the communist rebels, following the March 8 ambush in Bansalan, Davao del Sur.