TWO soldiers were killed while two others were wounded in a clash between the government troops and suspected members of the New People’s Army on Tuesday, January 23, in Pinukpuk, Kalinga province, a military official said Wednesday.

Lieutenant Colonel Isagani Nato, Northern Luzon Command public information officer, said the encounter occurred when a platoon of 50th Infantry Battalion responded to the reports of the residents regarding the NPA presence in Sitio Matayog, Barangay Baay, Pinukpuk, Kalinga.

He said the armed men were identified as members of the Komiteng Larangang Gerilya "Baggas" of the Ilocos-Cordillera Regional Committee, which is under the command of a certain Ruby Daguitan also known as Pinpin.

Nato said he believed that the NPA terrorists has also suffered an undetermined number of casualties.

The wounded military personnel were given first aid on site and were evacuated to the nearest hospital for treatment. The bodies of the fatalities were brought to the morgue.

Nato said prior to the encounter, soldiers discovered and dismantled an abandoned NPA terrorist encampment in Barangay Babalasioan, Sta. Maria, Ilocos Sur.

The said encampment was estimated to accommodate at least 15 communist terrorists. It was abandoned about five days prior to its discovery.

“The Northern Luzon Command will remain steadfast to its mandate of protecting the Filipino people against any threat. NOLCOM will also sustain its Development Support Operations to ensure that government services will reach its recipients and thwart any plan of the NPA criminal group detrimental to the lives of the people in its area of operation,” said Nato.

Meantime, at about 9:10 p.m. of the same day, a group of about 10 communist terrorists opened fire at the San Jose Patrol Base in San Mariano, Isabela for about five minutes.

At about 9:15 p.m., the Casala Patrol Base situated in the same municipality also came under enemy fire also for five minutes.

Nato said the troops believed that the attacks were perpetrated by the NPA group under Melicio Casisola, the NPA leader of Platoon REMO, Central Front, Komiteng Rehiyon-Hilagang Sentral Luzon (KR-HSL).

“All military units in Nolcom area of responsibility, including the PNP, were alerted and were instructed to intensify the conduct of security operations and monitor NPA terrorist plans to prevent them from executing hostile actions against soft targets, including the business sector and vital installations prone for sabotage,” he said. (SunStar Philippines)