A communist guerilla died following a 15-minute clash with government troops in the Davao de Oro town of Pantukan on Tuesday, a military official said.
2Lt. Kim Carlos, civil-military operations officer of the Army’s 71st Infantry Battalion (7IB), said the clash erupted after the troops responded to civilian reports on the presence of the New People’s Army (NPA) in Sitio Matinglob Barangay Tagdangwa Pantukan.
“According to the citizens they [NPA] asked food in their community,” Carlos told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) in a phone interview on Wednesday.
Carlos said the rebels attacked the military and the Philippine National Police (PNP) personnel as they arrived in the area.
Overpowered, the rebels left a dead comrade as they scampered in different directions.
He said the troops recovered several high-powered firearms, ammunition, subversive documents with high intelligence value, medical supplies and other pieces of evidence.
The attack came despite the reciprocal ceasefire declared by the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) on March 29, days after President Rodrigo Duterte called for a ceasefire with the NPA so that government forces can assist health workers and local government units contain the 2019 coronavirus disease.
“The ceasefire was clearly violated by the NPA members on the ground,” Carlos said.
Lt. Col. Sonny Gonzales, 71IB commander, said the clash “disheartens me because of the loss of life”.
Gonzales also called on the remaining NPA fighters to surrender and help communities combat the coronavirus disease.
The CPP-NPA-NDF is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand. (PNA)