Soldiers helping distribute cash aid clash with rebels

Jaime Laude - The Philippine Star

AGUSAN DEL NORTE, Philippines — Government troopers assisting in the distribution of cash assistance under the social amelioration program to residents of Prosperidad, Agusan del Norte clashed with New People’s Army (NPA) rebels yesterday.

Lt. Col. Joey Baybayan, 3rd Special Forces Battalion commander, said an AK47 rifle, two M16-A1, an M203 grenade launcher and an M653 rifle were recovered from the rebels.

Baybayan said the encounter occurred in Sitio Mikit, Barangay San Martin at around 6:35 a.m.

“While we are battling COVID-19, (coronavirus disease 2019) NPA rebels are making the situation worse for civilians, especially the poorest of poor who are most affected by the enhanced community quarantine,” he said.

In Davao Oriental, two NPA rebels were killed in a gunfight with Army soldiers in Sitio San Francisco, Barangay Campawan, Baganga before noon on Wednesday.

Three AK47 rifles, an M16 rifle and three landmines were recovered at the scene.

Brig. Gen. Edgard Arevalo, Armed Forces of the Philippines spokesman, said combat operations against communist rebels resumed on Thursday after the unilateral ceasefire that the government declared in view of the COVID-19 pandemic lapsed.

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