A SOLDIER was injured in a gun battle with members of the New People's Army (NPA) on March 5 in Sitio Gurem, Barangay Sibulan, Sta. Cruz, Davao del Sur, where the rebels reportedly held a mass gathering as part of their upcoming anniversary on March 29.

Philippine Army's 10th Infantry Division (ID) Division Public Affairs Office (DPAO) Chief Captain Jerry Lamosao said they were able to prevent the Communist Party of the Philippines-NPA's plan to conduct atrocities in the area.

The encounter transpired at 12:12 p.m. between 102nd Division Recon Company (DRC) under Operational Control of 39 Infantry Battalion (IB) and around 50 guerilla fighters after the soldiers responded to a report from a concerned citizen that a group of armed rebels converged in Sitio Gurem.

Lamosao said the troops were alerted for combat operation when the rebels were sighted 200 meters away.

He said the troops were on an advantage position, thus they were able to suppress the enemy. The firefight only lasted for almost 45 minutes. The enemy then withdrew.

After the firefight, the troops cleared the encounter site and recovered one improvised explosive device (IED), one detonating cord, one backpack and subversive documents with high intelligence value.

One soldier was wounded in the firefight, while casualties on the enemy's side are still undetermined. The wounded soldier was brought to safer location and is now in stable condition.

A hot pursuit operation is being conducted to track down the location of the rebels.

"The 10ID will relentlessly pursue the remaining CPP-NPA terrorists in its area of responsibility to protect the people and secure the communities," Lamosao said.

"Focused military operation is directed towards armed threats while our efforts toward the surrender of those who want to live a peaceful life continue," he added.