Two NPA rebels killed in Ifugao firefight

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LA TRINIDAD, BENGUET: Two alleged members of the New People’s Army (NPA) were believed killed while two others were wounded in a clash with government troopers in Asipulo town in Ifugao on Sunday.

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Soldiers from the Philippine Army’s 501st Infantry Brigade (501 IB), while refusing to name the two slain rebels, reported that they recovered M16 and M14 rifles after the firefight that lasted for 30 minutes.

Military authorities said that troopers encountered about 10 fully armed NPA guerillas, believed to be under the leadership of the NPA-Ifugao leader Casimiro Binayon at Sitio Hikot, Barangay Camandag in Asipulo town at about 9:30 a.m. on Sunday while conducting their usual patrol.

Army Col. Roger Salvador of the 501 IB said that government troops would continue to pursue the rebels in the area.

“The AFP is always here to deal with those who threaten the peace and security with violence, and they would always be ready to serve and die if necessary,” he claimed.

The military official, however, added, “The rebels are all encouraged to lay down their arms and surrender to the government and avail of the benefits being offered for their voluntary surrender.”

“Those who would surrender with arms would be given the needed capital to start a normal and peaceful life through the AFP [Armed Forces of the Philippines] Guns for Peace Program remuneration package and the livelihood assistance from the Comprehensive Local Integration Program to support their families and become productive members of their communities,” Salvador stressed.

Recent months saw a rise in NPA activity in the province after decades of dormancy as shown by the recent attacks on government forces.

The NPA is the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines, which has been waging a decades-long armed struggle for the establishment of a socialist state in the Philippines.

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