TWO members of the communist New People's Army (NPA) were killed during the military troops' security operations against the rebels who reportedly conducted extortion activities in Sitio Kimutya, Barangay San Rafael, Talakag, Bukidnon.
One soldier died and two others were wounded during the encounter.
According to Lieutenant Colonel Vercisio San Jose Jr., commanding officer of the 1st Special Forces Battalion under the 403rd Brigade of the 4th Infantry Division, military troops were engaged in a firefight against at least 70 members of the NPA around 9:35 a.m. on March 20, 2021.
The clash lasted about four hours.
Two communist rebels were killed. Troopers recovered five high-powered firearms composed of four M16 riles and one AK47 rifle, landmines, and other war materials.
"We are gaining the trust and confidence of the people, which is a great development because maintaining peace and order in the community is a shared responsibility," San Jose said.
Major General Andres Centino, 4th Infantry Division commander, for his part, honored the soldier's sacrifice to defend the people and secure the communities at the cost of his life.
"While one of our soldiers paid the ultimate sacrifice, it will not stop us from doing our job, but instead it inspires us to continue fighting the enemies of the state to keep our people safe in their homes and until we end the local communist armed conflict in Northern Mindanao and Caraga regions," Centino said.
He also called upon other NPA members to surrender or "face adverse consequences."
The bodies of the dead NPA rebels were turned over to the barangay captain of San Rafael for proper disposition.
Pursuit operation is still ongoing to capture the remaining rebels who escaped after the encounter.