Delima said there had been frequentsightings of rebels in Barangay Aglobong which is geographically near BarangayAtimonan, Janiuay, an identified NPA-influenced area. The Department of Interior and LocalGovernment has designated Barangay Atimonan as a priority area in thegovernment’s campaign to end local communist armed conflict./PN The PRO-6 was saddened by Espanto’sdemise, said Police Lieutenant Colonel Joem Malong, regional informationofficer. The encounter lasted for some 30minutes, according to Police Captain Dadjie Delima, Janiuay police chief. Hewas unsure of the number of rebels. His body would undergo autopsy to“determine the firearm used by the rebels,” said Delima. The encounter happened at around 5:45p.m. on Feb. 12. Some 20 policemen were attacked while on their way back to thetown proper on foot after three days of anti-insurgency offensive operations. Delima said the NPA rebels belonged tothe Jose Percival Estocada Command. He did not discount the possibility thatEspanto’s troops may have wounded or even killed some rebels, too, citingtrails of blood along the withdrawal path of the insurgents. The young officer sacrificed his lifefor the attainment of peace, said Malong. The Reconnaissance Company teamleader, 29-year-old Police Captain Efren Espanto of La Carlota City, NegrosOccidental, died. The PRO-6 deployed more troops toJaniuay following the encounter to run after the rebels. Espanto was the lone police casualty. Prior to his Reconnaissance Companyassignment, Espanto served as police chief of San Remigio, Antique. Police Captain Efren Espanto. PHOTO COURTESY OF PRO 6 Espanto, a graduate of the PhilippineNational Police Academy, Batch 2015, died in the encounter site but his body wasstill taken to the Federico Roman Tirador Sr. Memorial District Hospital inJaniuay. He sustained a fatal gunshot wound on the right eye. ILOILO City – New People’s Army (NPA) rebelsand troops of the Police Regional Office 6’s (PRO-6) Regional Mobile ForceBattalion 6 – Reconnaissance Company clashed in the remote barangay of Aglobongin Janiuay, Iloilo.