MANILA -- A soldier from the 30th Infantry Battalion was killed while three others were wounded in what the military describes as a New People's Army (NPA) “harassment attack” in Barangay Mati, Surigao City, Monday morning, January 30.

The incident took place past midnight, said Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesperson Restituto Padilla in a press briefing at the AFP headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City.

He added the above-mentioned were deployed in Barangay Mati for “peace and development activities” when attacked by 10 members of the NPA's North Eastern Mindanao Regional Command.

In the issuing 10-minute firefight, a soldier was killed while three of his companions were wounded.

There were no immediate reports of rebel casualties, Padilla added.

He also called the latest NPA attack as “alarming,” as this seems to signal the rebel’s withdrawal from the unilateral ceasefire it has entered with the Philippine Government last year.

Padilla said they are making public the incident so that the AFP can recommend to the peace panel possible steps which will safeguard the lives of troops from similar incidents.

“But if they so desire that they are backing out of the unilateral ceasefire we will make appropriate recommendations therein to protect our troops. We have a duty to protect our people, we have a duty to keep the sovereignty and territorial integrity of our country and we shall not also hesitate to provide the support needed by our local government and police in the area so that we can deliver the services needed by our people in these areas,” he added.

“We appeal to our fellow Filipinos who are on the other side to reconsider and let us allow peace again to prevail such as that we had since August,” the AFP spokesperson said. (PNA)