TWO members of the communist New People’s Army (NPA) were killed on Tuesday following an encounter with government troops in Albay province.
Lt. Col. Ramon Zagala, chief, Public Affairs Office, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), said the encounter between Army soldiers and more or less six NPAs took place at around 6:45 a.m. in Barangay Badbad in Oas town.
He identified the slain as one alias Dennis, team leader of the rebels, and an alias Peter. No casualty was reported on the government side.
Lt. Col. Andrew Costelo, commander, 2nd Infantry Battalion, said his troops were responding to reports that the rebels were conducting extortion activities in the said village that resulted in a five-minute firefight.
“The troops immediately proceeded to verify the report and secure the civilians when the NPAs opened fire at them,” Costelo added.
He said the rebels later withdrew toward Barangay Mayag and Matara, leaving behind two M16 rifles, bandoliers, and personal belongings.
On July 4, government troops also killed eight rebels in an encounter in Juban, Sorsogon.
The NPAs retaliated by firing at a group of students participating in a fun run in Gubat, Sorgsogon that left one female student injured.
The Maoist rebels have been on a series of offensives in various parts of the country following a failure in the peace negotiation between the government and the Communist Party of the Philippines-National Democratic Front.
The AFP claimed that it is still winning the war against the NPA.
Zagala said that the AFP still has the upper hand against the NPA with a 40-percent increase in military-initiated engagements against the armed rebels from fourth quarter of 2012 to first quarter of 2013.
Since January up to March this year, he added, the AFP recorded 96 focus-military operations against the NPA who only conducted 46.