COTABATO City, Philippines—Communist rebels and government forces clashed on Saturday in a remote village in North Cotabato, leaving two guerillas killed and four soldiers and six rebels wounded.
Colonel Prudencio Asto, speaking for the 6th Infantry Division, said soldiers belonging to the 57th Infantry Battalion were in Sitio (settlement) Dalag, Barangay (village) Manobo, Magpet, North Cotabato, to pursue New People’s Army rebels who were reportedly harassing civilians, mostly Manobo tribesmen.
Asto said the soldiers were patrolling the village when fired at by the rebels who were on a higher ground, triggering a firefight that lasted for more than an hour.
Magpet Mayor Efren Piñol confirmed the encounter and identified the leader of the rebels as Ponyong of the NPA’s Front 53, which has been operating in the hinterlands of Mt. Apo.
Wounded on government side were Privates First Class Arnold Tombado, Rufino Eludo, Tasil Samad and Leovinson Capacio.
They were immediately rushed to the Cotabato Provincial Hospital in Barangay Amas, Kidapawan City, Saturday evening.
“They only suffered minor wounds and could be released from the hospital anytime,” said Lt. Manuel Gatus, chief of 57th IB Civil Military Operation (CMO).
Gatus said they were able to verify that six rebels were wounded through the radio communications of fleeing guerillas that were monitored by the military.
Asto said more troops were sent to the village to prevent the rebels from launching retaliatory attacks.