HIGH-POWERED guns have been seized after the military troops engaged around 40 communist guerillas in almost an hour gun battle in the hinterland of Barangay Busdi in Malaybalay City, Bukidnon on Thursday.
After taking over the hideout of the New People's Army (NPA) in the area, the army's 8th Infantry Battalion (8IB) confiscated an M1 Carbine, M1 Garrand, M16A1 and AK47.
An unexploded rifle grenade, five fully loaded magazines of AK47, two backpacks and subversive documents were also recovered after the search in the area.
The military said they stormed the NPA's hideout after receiving reports from residents that the rebels were allegedly planning to recruit locals and convince them to join the armed struggle.
"The military stormed them in the morning by bursts of gunfire prompting them to leave some of their firearms and ran for their lives," the military said in a statement.
First Lieutenant Kenneth Cabbigat, 8IB civil military operations officer, said the firefight lasted for about 50 minutes, but no casualties from both sides were reported.
The military said the rebels whom they encountered were members of the SDG Dario, Sub-Regional Command 2, North Central Mindanao Regional Command (NCMRC).
"It was covered with thick trees, we are on our way up and we noticed the enemy presence so I alerted my platoon," Platoon leader Lieutenant Carlee Pablo said.
"When confirmed that they were armed, we immediately fired at them and tried to outmaneuver but they ran," he added.
8IB commander Ronald Illana has directed the platoon leader to stay alert and remain stable when pressure arises.
"Let us do our best to hunt them down and save the community from their plan of recruitment," Illana said.
Illana called on the members of the SDG Dario to lay down their arms and return to the folds of the law.
"We will help you go home with your family; the government prepared a program for you to make your life better and safe," he added.