At least eight suspected members of the New People’s Army were killed when government forces clashed with the rebel group in Miagao, Iloilo, early Wednesday, the military said.
Troops recovered the still unidentified rebels’ bodies, said Maj. Gen. Benedict Arevalo, Army 3rd Infantry Division commander.
No casualty was reported among the soldiers, who also initially recovered three M16 rifles, an AK-47 rifle, four landmines, a detonator, documents, and several other belongings.
Members of the 61st Infantry Battalion and the 31st Division Reconnaissance Company encountered about 50 to 70 rebels in Sitio Burak, Brgy. Alimodias, around 6 a.m., he said.
“Malaki-laki ang formation because they (rebels) were planning to conduct offensives. The troops were able to prevent ‘yung pag-conduct nila ng tactical offensive,” Arevalo told reporters.
A statement from the 3rd ID said the rebels planned to attack a military patrol base somewhere in Alimodias, as an advance “commemoration” of the Communist Party of the Philippines’ (CPP) anniversary on December 26.
Residents reported earlier that rebels believed to be under the Southern Front-Panay’s Sentro de Grabidad were consolidating in the hinterlands of Miagao, according to a separate statement from the 301st Brigade.
Troops found the rebels’ position fortified and laden with anti-personnel mines, it said.
Intermittent firefights ensued and went on until noon, Arevalo said.
Police forensics personnel have been sent to the area to conduct an investigation, he added.