A COMMUNIST rebel was killed in a February 18 military operation in Mt. Kalatungan, Southwest Bukidnon, the military said.
The operation was a result of a reported tactical offensive allegedly planned by the New People's Army last week, added the military in a statement.
Soldiers found a body upon entering the area and seized an R4 rifle, APMs, SIM cards, handheld radio, and documents.
The military said there have been reports that the NPA planned to execute a tactical offensive targeting civilian compounds and equipment in the area.
It said the troops have to use close air support as the NPA hideouts were surrounded by Ottawa Conventions banned Anti-Personnel Mine (APM) to ensure soldiers cannot penetrate the area.
"Close air support will detonate these mines to our soldiers on the ground can assault their hideout," the 403rd Infantry Brigade said.
"It can be recalled that January 18 last year, when a group of armed NPAs attack an undefended farm lot at Sitio Cole, Barangay Lilingayon, Valencia City, Bukidnon. They deliberately destroyed civilian-owned properties by chopping down around 8,500 banana trees and burning a boom-spray truck contracted by a plantation company. They also confiscated the mobile phones of the civilian operators of the boom truck according to reports of Valencia City PNP," the military said.
Colonel Ferdinand Barandon, 403rd Infantry Brigade commander, said the military cannot allow the NPA to launch another attack against civilians and kill government soldiers through the APM they allegedly set up.
"We protect communities from threat, intimidation and attack of these terrorist and we also protect our soldiers from being killed so they be able to live and defend our people," Barandon said.
"They have already lost the support of their former mass base that is why we are quick to monitor their movements. It is their former mass supporters that wants them out of communities," he added.