The provincial government of Negros Oriental on Friday extended financial assistance to families of two alleged members of the New People’s Army (NPA) who were killed in an encounter with elements of the Philippine Army’s First Scout Ranger Batallion and 79th IB troopers in Sitio Payao-payawan, Nagbinlod in Sta. Catalina town three weeks ago.
Magdalena Benlot, mother of Jocelyn Benlot and Cristina Sueto, wife of Lando Sueto, received the cash assistance of P5,000 each from Governor Roel Degamo in the presence of their respective families and Philippine Army commanders at the Capitol.
Col. Manuel Ochotorena, commander of the 302nd Infantry Brigade and 79th IB commanding officer Lt. Col. Pio Diñoso III recommended the giving of cash aid, said Degamo, even if the slain suspected rebels had been fighting the government for their own cause.
In an interview, the recipients thanked the governor and the Philippine Army for their gesture of goodwill in urging others to return to the fold of the law, as the underground movement is becoming insignificant nowadays.
Sueto’s daughter, Merlin, said his father could still be alive today had he not joined the rebel movement after severing relationships with his mother a number of years ago. – PNA