A SOLDIER was wounded in a firefight between government troops and communist rebels on the outskirts of Lope De Vega, Northern Samar, on Sunday afternoon, January 14.

The Philippine Army identified the wounded soldier as Corporal Artemio Bendo. He was given first aid in the camp before he was airlifted to a hospital in Catarman, Northern Samar.

Soldiers of the 43rd Infantry Battalion were patrolling the upland rebel-infested village of Sumuroy when they encountered a group of New People’s Army (NPA) rebels. The firefight lasted for 10 minutes, according to a report by the Police Regional Office in Tacloban City.

The rebels had an undetermined number of injured fighters, added the police.

The Philippine Army and the Philippine National Police units were alerted on Monday, January 15, to prepare for possible attacks.

Sunday's incident was the second clash between soldiers and NPA rebbels since the end of holiday truce on January 2. The first encounter was on January 3 in Hilapnitan village in Baybay City in Leyte, wherein two rebels were killed. (PNA)