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3 arrested as police clash with NPAs

MANILA, Philippines - Policemen clashed with suspected New People’s Army (NPA) rebels in Taytay, Palawan last Friday, but no casualties were reported.

Supt. Imelda Tolentinno, spokesperson of the Mimaropa (Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon, Palawan) police, said the encounter happened at around 10:20 a.m. in Barangay Alacalian.

Elements from the police Regional Public Safety Battalion were conducting patrol operations when they spotted a group of around 20 armed men inside a nipa hut.

A woman was said to be conducting a lecture before the armed men, who opened fire at the policemen, triggering a shootout.

Members of the 212 Marines Company arrived and reinforced the policemen.

There were no reported casualties on the government’s side while authorities are verifying reports on rebel casualties.

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Three men who were in the area were brought to the Taytay police station for investigation.

The government recovered two improvised landmines, an M-16 rifle, 10 assorted magazines, six cellular phones, a generator set, subversive documents, medicine and other personal belongings at the scene.

Pursuit operations were launched against the rebels who fled into the forest.

Social Welfare and Development Secretary Judy Taguiwalo yesterday said she is hopeful the peace talks between the government and the National Democratic Front (NDF) would resume following the suspension of the talks in the past months.

“Of course we want it to proceed. We don’t want a war. We are waiting for the development, but that’s between the government panel and the NDFP,” she said in Filipino at the sidelines of the Serbisyo Caravan in Quezon City.

Taguiwalo was among the Cabinet officials recommended by the left to President Duterte.

Asked about calls for her and the other “leftist” Cabinet members to resign after the breakdown of the peace talks, Taguiwalo said the President has addressed the issue.

“While we are here, we will continue to serve to the best of our abilities to help our countrymen and based on the instructions of the President,” said Taguiwalo.

Taguiwalo, along with Agrarian Reform Secretary Rafael Mariano and Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial, had been bypassed by the Commission on Appointments twice. They were re-appointed by the President. – With Janvic Mateo

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