PHILIPPINE Army troopers recovered high-powered firearms after a two-day skirmish against the New People's Army (NPA) in Caraga region.
Troops of the 30th Infantry Battalion in Barangay Camam-onan, Gigaquit town, Surigao del Norte, clashed with NPA rebels in two separate incidents, resulting in the recovery of a backpack, five kilos of rice, personal belongings, one M16 rifle, one long magazine with 25 rounds of live ammunition and food supplies.
In Surigao del Sur, troops of the 36th Infantry Battalion also stepped up its security operations, following reports of the NPAs forcing civilians to vote for their preferred candidates in Sitio Lagangan, Barangay Caras-an, Tago, Surigao del Sur.
A follow-up operation in the said area resulted in the recovery of a large anti-personnel mine, which was placed along the trail going to a certain community.
Colonel Maurito Licudine, commander of the 402nd Infantry Brigade, said the troops are on heightened alert for the remaining days until election day on May 13.
He said the army, police, and the Commission on Elections (Comelec) also laid out security and contingency plans in anticipation of a worst-case scenario, before, during, and after the elections.
"With the support of civilians and commitment of the candidates for fair and peaceful election, we are ready to thwart any possible incident that may arise in the coming days even after election day," he said.
"I urge everyone to be on guard and vigilant against any threat to peace and security in order to prevent untoward incidents that will hamper the exercise of our right to vote," he added.