• Three rebels killed in separate clashes

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    THREE members of communist New People’s Army (NPA) were killed in clashes with government troops in Mindanao and Visayas.

    Armed Forces of the Philippines Eastern Mindanao Command spokesperson Capt. Al–berto Caber said two rebels were killed on Friday when soldiers of the 30th Infantry Battalion and some 200 rebels clashed at the vicinity of Mt. Taglinitian in Barangay Tagbugayawan in Mainit town, Surigao del Sur.

    Caber said the rebels later withdrew, leaving behind four high-powered firearms that include an M653, M14 and AK47 assault rifles.

    On Thursday, troops from the 34th Infantry Batallion of the 8th Infantry Division encountered NPA members at Barangay Osang in Catubig, Northern Samar.

    In a report to the headquarters, Lt. Col. Rodrigo Illustrisimo, commanding officer of the 34th Infantry Batallion, said his troops were on routine security operations when they were fired upon by more or less 15 heavily-armed rebels.

    The 15-minute firefight resulted to the death of one rebel and recovery of M14 rifle and two M14 rifle magazines loaded with ammunition.

    Illustrisimo said pursuing troops from the 43rd Infantry Batallion also clashed with NPA rebels at Brgy. Mahayag, Matuginao, Samar with no reported casualties on both sides.

    Maj. Gen. Jet Velarmino, commander of the 8th Infantry Division said enlistment of the underground movement in Samar continues to dwindle, resulting from heavy casualties in encounters, voluntary surrender and capture.

    Velarmino expressed confidence that they would be able to win the war with the rebels before the year ends.

    “These are the reasons why I am very optimistic that we can hand over the internal security operation to the LGUs (local government units) of Samar and Northern Samar by June and December 2014 respectively,” he said.

    Meanwhile, two militiamen were killed and five were injured when a 40 mm ammunition for grenade launcher exploded inside the Civilian Armed Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU) detachment in Manaoan, Masbate.

    Brig. Gen. Joselito Kakilala, commander of the 903rd Infantry Brigade, said the two CAFGU active auxiliaries (CAA) expired while being treated at the Masbate Provincial Hospital while the injured were airlifted to Legazpi City.

    Initial report said one of the militiaman was cleaning his rifle when he accidentally pressed its trigger, releasing the 40mm ammunition that exploded.

    “This command will conduct immediate investigation on the incident to determine possible infraction of regulations or SOPs (standard operating procedures) and prevent its recurrence in the future,” Kakilala said.

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    1. More poverty alleviation programs are needed in the hinterlands to combat new NPA recruits and more strong soldiers are needed to pursue current bandits in the guise as NPA’s. Maintaining this balance in 20 years will make NPA a thing of the past.