At least eight suspected communist rebels were killed in an early morning firefight between the Philippine Army’s 3rd Infantry Division (3ID) and New People’s Army (NPA) in Miag-ao, Iloilo on Wednesday, Dec. 1
Major Gen. Benedict Arevalo, commander of the 3ID, said that civilians spotted around 50 to 70 armed men gathered in a mountainous and forested area in Barangay Alimodias around 6 a.m.
He said it turns out that the NPAs were planning their tactical offensives to a military patrol base in the barangay ahead of the 53rd founding anniversary of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) on Dec. 26.
The civilians reported the presence of the armed men to the 3ID, prompting Arevalo to deploy troops from the 61st Infantry Battalion (61IB) under the command of Lt. Col. Harold Garcia and 301st Infantry Battalion (301IB) under the command of Brig. Gen. Marion Sison.
“Our troops had an encounter with the enemies and then after the exchange of fire, the initial report is that there were eight NPAs killed," Arevalo said.
"They (NPAs) are planning to attack a nearby detachment in Miag-ao and the troops were able to prevent the conduct of the tactical offensives," he added.
Initial reports also indicated that there was no casualty on the part of the military, Arevalo said.
"The firefight was intermitent and sporadic. It was a running gunbattle so up to 12 noon, I think there were still firefights," he noted.
Aside from the bodies of the slain enemies, the troops also recovered three M16 rifles, an AK47 rifle, four landmines, and a grenade.
Clearing operations were ongoing in the encounter site as of this writing.