BAGUIO CITY — The military claims to have killed a total of five New People’s Army (NPA) rebels after a fierce gun battle that began in the afternoon of Saturday and ended Sunday morning along the boundary of Santa Lucia and Candon City in Ilocos Sur.
Three more bodies of communist rebels were found by the Philippine Army’s 81st Infantry Battalion in addition to the two rebels first casualties from the firefight, said Major Ericson Bulusan, spokesperson of the Northern Luzon Command (Nolcom).
A villager, whom the rebels shot after being suspected as a military informer, was also killed by the fleeing rebels while a soldier, whose identity has not been made available by the military, was killed and five soldiers more were wounded.
The firefight took place near a major by-pass road not far from the Candon City proper.
The military seized four M16 rifles, an M14 rifle, a carbine rifle, a shotgun, bullets, two anti-personnel mines, and other war materials.
Soldiers clashed with the rebels reportedly led by certain “Ka Nero” of the Komiteng Larangang
Gerilya-South Ilocos (KLG-SIS) after villagers tipped-off the army about the presence of NPA rebels roving around the villages near the by-pass road along the borders of Candon City and Sta. Lucia town
The military claimed that among the first rebels to fall include a woman medical officer and the other, a bomb expert of the group.
The army claims that the government interventions including a recent proclamation by Ilocos Sur provincial government declaring rebels as “persona-non-grata” has weakened the underground rebel movement in the area.
Northern Luzon Command chief Lt. Gen. Ramiro Rey declared that “these communist terrorist groups (CTGs) are now in despair as more and more people withdraw their support to their cause. They are now pushed to a corner as our gains to winning peace continue to grow.” ●