Four New People’s Army (NPA) rebels and two soldiers were killed after an encounter between military troops and the communist rebels in Lake Sebu, South Cotabato on Sunday afternoon.
The gunfight happened at about 1 p.m. when members of the Philippine Army’s 27th Infantry Battalion were verifying the reported sighting of armed men in Barangay Ned in Lake Sebu.
Capt. Mc Gary Dida, civil-military operations officer of the Army’s 1002nd Infantry Brigade, said soldiers chanced upon some 25 NPA members in the area but the rebels opened fire at the solders triggering a firefight that lasted for about an hour.
The fierce fighting resulted in the death of four unidentified NPA gunmen.
The slain soldiers were identified as Private First Class Jovanie Tagactac and PFC Max Jay Lord Fernando. Three other soldiers were wounded.
Dida said pursuit operations against the communist rebels are ongoing.
Lt. Col. Benjamin Leander, 27th Infantry Battalion commander, called on the wounded NPA members and those who have escaped to surrender to security forces.
“For those wounded terrorists and for some others who are still hiding now, it is high time for you to peacefully surrender to the fold of law and avail yourself of the Comprehensive Local Integration Program of the Local Government,” Leander said.
Meanwhile, the Armado Catapia Command (ACC-New People’s Army-Camarines Norte) took responsibility for the ambush of a Provincial Public Safety Company convoy in Labo, Camarines Norte on Saturday where a policeman was killed while six others were wounded.
In a statement it released on Monday, the ACC said the attack was in response to the “call for intensified tactical offensive from the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) to topple the Duterte administration as well as to neutralize the military abuses and extra-judicial killings” in Labo town.
The rebels intercepted the police mobiles traversing Maharlika Highway and lobbed command-detonated explosives.
WITH BELLY M. OTORDOZ