Rebel killed in Mindoro
A suspected communist rebel was killed in a clash with government forces at Santa Cruz town in Occidental Mindoro province on Sunday, a military official in Southern Luzon said.
Maj. Gil Perez of the military’s Southern Luzon Command (Solcom) said soldiers from the Army’s 76th Infantry Battalion clashed with more than 20 New People’s Army (NPA) rebels in Barangay Pinagturilan, Santa Cruz, around 2 p.m.
He said a still unidentified NPA member was killed in the 30-minute firefight. Soldiers recovered .45 cal. pistol, bullets, two improvised explosive devices, antigovernment documents and personal belongings from the clash site.
The body of the slain rebel was turned over to the Santa Cruz police station for identification.
Perez said residents in the village had informed the military about the presence of NPA rebels in their community.
Units of the Armed Forces of the Philippines in Southern Tagalog and Bicol regions have resumed offensives against communist rebels following the government’s termination of its unilateral ceasefire with the NPA, said Lt. Gen. Ferdinand Quidilla, Solcom commander.
“We assure you that our troops will conduct our tactical operations within the bounds of the AFP rules of engagement and respect for human rights and rule of law at all times,” Quidilla said in a statement.
In Eastern Visayas, soldiers are in full alert for possible attacks from communist rebels, said Lt. Cherry Junia, spokesperson for the 8th Infantry Division based in Catbalogan City in Samar province.
“But so far, Eastern Visayas remains peaceful,” Junia said.
The AFP may end up weakened if it ends up not only battling drug pushers and users but also resuming a shooting war with communist rebels, according to Sen. Leila de Lima. —REPORTS FROM DELFIN T. MALLARI JR., JOEY A. GABIETA AND CHRISTINE O. AVENDAÑO