SIX suspected members of the New People's Army (NPA) were killed in an encounter with combined elements of Philippine Army, Air Force and Navy in the hinterlands of Barangay Imelda, Las Navas, Northern Samar Wednesday, November 23, 2022.

Joint Task Force Storm and 8th Infantry Division Commander Major General Camilo Ligayo said the Armed Forces of the Philippines "cannot let these communists continue to terrorize villages."

"We are the protector of our people, locals appeal na kung pwede nga lang wag na kami umalis sa mga komunidad nila at ayaw nila sa presensya ng mga NPA. Sila na rin mismo ang nagtuturo sa amin ng mga hideout ng mga teroristang ito," Ligayo said in a statement.

Captain Ryan Layug, army regional spokesperson, said the clash took place after they track down the rebels who were allegedly involved in the Dorillo village attack in the adjacent town of Jipapad, Eastern Samar in October.

The said attack injured a 10-year-old civilian and two soldiers and killed another two army troopers tasked to monitor the implementation of government projects in the area, according to the Army.

Layug added the attack "also left hundreds of bullets that pierced at least 15 houses, barangay stage, communal toilet and the newly constructed barangay hall in the said village."

Meanwhile, government troopers recovered 16 assorted firearms at the rebels' hideout in Barangay Imelda after the clash.

The Army also acknowledged the technological support they used in hunting down the suspected rebels.

"The terrorist position was heavily fortified as strong resistance met government troops enroute to the hideouts. These triggered the request for close air support and artillery fires," the Army in the region said.

However, it has yet to release the names of the fatalities.

Presently, there are five remaining communist guerilla fronts in the country, with four of them are in Eastern Visayas, particularly in Northern Samar province going to its boundaries with the provinces of Samar and Eastern Samar., according to the Army. (SunStar Philippines)