AN ARMY soldier was killed while two others were wounded when government security forces clashed with communist rebels in Compostela Valley Friday.

Captain Emmanuel Garcia, spokesman of the Army's 10th Infantry Division, said the clash happened around 6 a.m. Friday.

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"Troops from Charlie Company of 25th Infantry Battalion composed of one section of soldiers clashed with numerically superior NPA terrorists numbering about 50 in the village of Salvacion in Monkayo town. Reports reaching Army headquarters here indicate two hours heavy fighting [that] resulted to the death of one soldier and wounding of two others which prompted authorities to send reinforcements," Garcia said.

Killed in action was Private First Class (PFC) Benzon Balandan, while wounded were PFCs John Patrick Madariaga and Jaypee Baricaua.

The report said New People’s Army (NPA) suffered severe casualties but were able to extricate their wounded comrades.

Government troops overran two NPA encampments that can accommodate about 50 and 70 fighters, respectively, and recovered six improvised explosive devices (IED) with detonating cords and blasting caps each and other war materiel.

Major General Carlos Holganza, commander of the Army's 10th Infantry Division, expressed grief over the death of the soldier but said the sacrifice of the troops have made the people a lot safer from terrorism.

"Our soldiers' sacrifices were not in vain as their efforts have made the people of Compostela Valley and the whole of Davao region a lot safer with the recovery of these IEDs which might endanger the lives of our citizens," Holganza said.

The clash between Army soldiers and NPA rebels happened as militant organizations led by Satur Ocampo, a former high ranking member of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), is in the region orchestrating anti-government protests in Davao City, Compostela Valley province and Davao del Sur.

Last month, five NPAs were killed in a clash with soldiers in Lupon town in Davao Oriental as Satur visited the towns of Banaybanay, Lupon and Mati City all in that province.

Military officials said the rebel group always congregates whenever Representative Ocampo arrives in the Davao Region.

The NPA is the armed wing of the CPP, which aims to topple the government through violent and bloody revolution.