LEGAZPI CITY: Four communist guerrillas were killed in a 20-minute firefight between government troops and the New People’s Army in Barangay Pangle, Aroroy town in the island province of Masbate on Monday morning.
This was the first bloody encounter between the military and the rebels in the Bicol region after President Rodrigo Duterte suspended the peace talks with the Communist Party of the Philippines over a week ago.
Soldiers of the 2nd Infantry Battalion (2IB) led by Army 1st Lt. April John del Rosario were conducting regular combat operations when they encountered the communist insurgents. The gun battle resulted in four casualties on the rebels’ side.
Major Gil Perez, spokesman of the Southern Luzon Command (Solcom), said soldiers from the Army’s 2IB encountered at least 20 members of the NPA at about 6:20 a.m. in Barangay Pangle, Aroroy while on regular patrol.
“Our troops from 2IB under the 903 Infantry Brigade recovered two M14 rifles, two M16 rifles, one M203 grenade launcher and subversive documents from the NPAs,” Perez added.
The Bicol region specifically the provinces of Sorsogon, Masbate and Camarines provinces were identified as rebels’ lair.
Army Colonel Fernando Trinidad, commanding officer of the Army’s 903rd Infantry Brigade, urged the communist guerrillas to return to the fold of the law as the military is willing to assist them and help provide livelihood to start a new life with their families.
The Solcom said they are open for localized peace talks at the grassroots level and encourage the NPA to stop resorting to violent means, attacking government projects and civilians in the countryside.