Soldier killed in encounter

A MEMBER of the Army's 68th Infantry Battalion was killed in an encounter with suspected communist rebels at Sitio Bagang, Barangay Palma Gil in Talaingod, Davao del Norte.

The slain soldier was identified as Second Lieutenant Fritzel Anthony D. Degracia, who died while undergoing surgery at the Metro Davao Medical and Research Center Inc.

Degracia, 24, died after a 30-minute firefight between the troops and members of the New People's Army's Guerilla Front 55 around 9 a.m. Wednesday, said the 10th Infantry Division in a statement.

Brigadier General Benjamin Madrigal Jr., assistant division commander of the 10th Infantry Division, said he was saddened by Degracia's death.

"Our troops are constantly risking their lives in order to protect our people. This is the reality of our job and we will continue to do our duty. The death of Second Lieutenant Degracia, along with our other soldier-heroes, will be our inspiration to continue to faithfully do our mandate to serve our people and secure our communities. Their sacrifices, definitely, will not be in vain," he said.

Army troops acted on reports from civilian informants regarding the presence of suspected NPA rebels and their alleged extortion activities in Talaingod.

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