NEW People's Army (NPA) rebels failed in their attempt to sabotage a cell site in Sipalay City, Negros Occidental after the Army's 1st Infantry Battalion (IB) successfully foiled their supposed attempt.

Lieutenant Joselito Dalida, spokesperson and Civil Military Operations (CMO) chief, told Sun.Star Bacolod that more than 15 members of the NPA are planning to sabotage a cell site in Sitio Don Jose, Barangay San Jose, Sipalay City about 7:30 a.m. last January 2.

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But the Army's quick response foiled the rebels' attempt in destructing the communication facility owned by Globe Telecommunications. The incident resulted in a firefight, which lasted for about 10 minutes, the first rebel-army encounter for 2010.

No casualty or injuries were reported from the government troops, while the military said numbers of casualties from the rebel group was undetermined.

Dalida said they've been receiving reports from the Globe Company in Sipalay City that NPA rebels had been extorting money from the business firm.

"Their (NPA) move only shows how desperate they are to generate money from Globe in a harassing way," said Dalida.

The 61st IB, responsible for securing the Chicks (Cauayan, Hinoba-an, Ilog, Candoni, Kabankalan City, and Sipalay City) area, are now launching a pursuit operations against the rebels believed to be under the Armando Sumayang Command of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP)-NPA.