Government security forces and suspected members of the New People’s Army (NPA) figured in separate armed encounters in Occidental Mindoro and Masbate on Monday, April 25, which led to the death of four communist rebels and the wounding of a soldier, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said.
Col. Jorry Baclor, chief of AFP public affairs office, said the first encounter occurred in Occidental Mindoro as combined elements of the Philippine Army’s 68th Infantry Battalion (68IB) and Philippine National Police’s Special Action Force (PNP-SAF) clashed with about 10 armed NPA rebels in Brgy. Malpalon in Calintaan town.
A female guerilla died in the five-minute encounter while a soldier was wounded, Baclor said.
Back-up troops from the 4th Infantry Battalion (4IB), 76th Infantry Battalion (76IB), and 68th IB pursued the fleeing comrades of the slain rebel which led to a 20-minute firefight moments later.
A male NPA fighter died in the second encounter, Baclor noted.
The rebels further withdrew towards Sitio Salad in Barangay Malpalon where a third encounter occurred. The firefight lasted for 10 minutes until the NPA fighters finally disengaged the military and police.
In Masbate, combined forces of the Army’s 2nd Infantry Battalion were conducting security operations when they encountered around 20 armed NPA fighters in Barangay Miabas in Palanas town.
The firefight lasted for about eight minutes which resulted in the death of two communist rebels, Baclor said.
The identities of the slain rebels and the injured soldier have yet to be released by the military as of this writing.
“The NPA’s number continues to dwindle due to the strong intelligence-driven operations by government forces. We will continue to render these communist terrorists irrelevant while addressing its capability to generate resources and recruit members,” said Gen. Andres Centino, AFP Chief of Staff.
“With the AFP’s persistent focused military operations alongside the cooperation and support of other agencies and local government units, we will continue to pressure the communist terrorists to lay down their arms and go back to the mainstream society,” he added.
Authorities seized from the encounter sites four M16 rifles, an M14 rifle, multiple magazines for M16, two hand grenades, two anti-personnel mines, a rifle grenade, two bandoliers, and various ammunition and personal documents.
The military launched pursuit operations to hunt down the fleeing rebels in the Occidental Mindoro and Masbate clashes.