RECOVERED WEAPONS. Three high-powered firearms and other war materials are seized by the Army from the New People’s Army (NPA) following a firefight in Kiamba, Sarangani, on March 19, 2023. Also seized are subversive documents, mobile phones, and other personal belongings. (Photo courtesy of 6ID)

CAMP SIONGCO, Maguindanao Norte – The Philippine Army has recovered three high-powered firearms and other war materiel following a clash with communist New People’s Army (NPA) rebels in Sarangani province, the Army said Tuesday.

Major Gen. Alex Rillera, commander of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division and concurrent head of Joint Task Force Central, said operating troops from the 38th Infantry Battalion clashed with 20 members of the rebel group in Barangay Gasi, Kiamba town, on Sunday.

Troops were believed to have encountered the group of a certain commander Rafa of the NPA Regional Headquarters-Far South Mindanao Region, Rillera said.

After a 20-minute firefight, the rebels withdrew, bringing with them their wounded comrades.

“An officer of the 38IB officer was also wounded and the fatalities on the enemy side are yet to be determined,” Rillera said.

While scouring the encounter site, government troops recovered three high-powered firearms that included two M16 rifles and an M14 rifle.

Also recovered were four bandoliers, a medical kit, five jungle packs, two mobile phones, NPA propaganda materials, and personal belongings.

Rillera said soldiers under the 1st Mechanized Brigade continue to conduct pursuit operations against the rebels in Kiamba and nearby municipalities as of posting time. (PNA)