WAR MATERIEL. The homemade bombs, ammunition, and other war matériel recovered by government troops following a firefight against communist New People’s Army rebels in Bacuag, Surigao del Norte Thursday (April 28, 2022). The Philippine Army’s 30th Infantry Battalion says the rebels withdrew after the 15-minute gun battle. (Photo courtesy of 30IB)

BUTUAN CITY – Army troopers from the 30th Infantry Battalion (30IB) have recovered two improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and ammunition following an encounter with the communists New People’s Army (NPA) rebels in Surigao del Norte, the military said Friday.

In a statement, the Army’s 30th Infantry Battalion (IB) said troops were sent to Barangay Payapag in Bacuag town Thursday after residents reported the presence of around 10 armed NPA rebels.

While on patrol heading to the area, government troopers were fired upon by the NPA rebels, resulting in a 15-minute gun battle.

The insurgents, identified as belonging to the NPA's North Eastern Mindanao Regional Committee led by Alberto Castañeda and Roel Neniel, immediately retreated during the gunfight.

Recovered from the encounter site were two IEDs, five magazines for the AK-47 rifle, 150 pieces of various types of ammunition, personal belongings, and subversive documents.

Lt. Col. Charles Callanta, 30IB commander, said the encounter "stopped the NPA rebels from executing their plans against the community, particularly intimidation and extortion."

Peace and development, Callanta said, can only be attained if people in different communities will work hand-in-hand with the government.

Pursuit operations in the area are still ongoing, he said. (PNA)