TACLOBAN CITY — At least two members of the New People’s Army (NPA) were killed while firearms were recovered after the clash Tuesday morning at the outskirts of Matuguinao, Samar, the Philippine Army reported.
The armed rebels perished after a gun battle with troops of the Army’s 63rd Infantry Battalion (63IB), who proceeded to the areas after receiving reports of NPA’s presence in upland Carolina village in Matuguinao town.
“We have sent troops to address the insurgency situation in the area. Troops were able to catch up with these terrorists and were able to push them out of the community leaving two of their dead comrades behind with one M16 rifle, one KG9 and one shotgun,” said 63IB commander Lt. Col. Rizaldo Laurena in a statement.
Soldiers turned over the remains of the two slain rebels to the local government for decent burial.
Matuguinao, which is located 105 kilometers north of Tacloban City, is a fifth class town in Samar – with several communities tagged as infested by communist rebels due to poor access from the town center.
The Philippine Army has stepped up operations against the NPA after receiving reports of extortion activities in Samar provinces.
The Communist Party of the Philippines-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States and European Union.
The communist rebels have been battling government forces for 50 years — one of Asia’s longest-running insurgencies.
In a statement, Armed Forces of the Philippines central command chief Lt. Gen. Noel Clement lauded the successful operation and thanked the people for their support.
“Congratulations to the swift response of our gallant troops who managed to drive away these terrorists who are making the villagers miserable. Credits to the people who gave timely and relevant information that led to this success. I have said it before and will say it again that we will hit these terrorists harder this year until they choose to live in peace,” Clement said.
The official urged rebels to surrender and “heed the call for unity and choose the path that will once and for all bring everyone in the spirit of lasting peace and sustainable development.” (PNA)