2 NPA rebels killed in Surigao Sur clash

THREE days after the cancellation of the peace talks, two members of the New People’s Army (NPA) died in a clash with elements of 75th Infantry Battalion in the hinterlands of Barangay Buhisan, San Agustin, Surigao del Sur around 1:30 p.m. on Monday.

Capt. Rodulfo Cordero, the civil-military operations (CMO) officer of 401st Infantry Brigade, said government troops conducted security operations in Lianga and San Agustin to pursue the rebels allegedly responsible in the killing of two Lumads and a soldier through a landmine in Purok 5, San Isidro, Lianga last Nov. 6.

Cordero said the encounter lasted for about an hour after before the rebels escaped.

During the clearing operations, the troops found the bodies, an AK47 rifle, an M653 rifle, a compass, blasting caps and detonating cords.

The encounter site was about seven kilometers away from the Lumad communities in Barangay Diatagon, Lianga and Buhisan, San Agustin.

Meanwhile, Col. Andres Centino, the commander of 401st Infantry Brigade, assured the people of Lianga and San Agustin that there is no reason to fear from the military offensives against the NPA. He said the soldiers are disciplined and have sworn to respect the rights of civilians.

President Duterte signed on Nov 23 Proclamation 360 declaring the termination of peace negotiations with the Communist Party of the Philippines-National Democratic Front-the New People’s Army.

With the cancellation of the peace talks, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff Gen. Rey Leonardo Guerrero ordered all units to beef up their defenses as communist rebels are expected to intensify their attacks.

“My directive to the troops is to intensify our focused military operations to destroy the NPA, and to protect our communities against terrorism,” Guerrero said.

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