RECOVERED FIREARMS. Firearms and belongings recovered by the Philippine Army after a clash with rebels in Pambujan, Northern Samar on July 22, 2023. Two New People’s Army fighters were killed after a 20-minute firefight. (Photo courtesy of Philippine Army)

TACLOBAN CITY – Two members of the New People’s Army (NPA) were killed in a clash with soldiers in the upland village of Pambujan, in Northern Samar past noon on July 22, the Philippine Army has reported.

The armed encounter in upland Cagbigajo village also led to the recovery of three high-powered firearms, Lt. Col. Marvin Maraggun, commander of the Army’s 19th Infantry Battalion, said in a report sent to journalists on Monday.

“Security forces were validating reports of the rebels’ plan to conduct atrocities in the said area when they were fired upon by more or less 10 CNTs (Communist Party of the Philippines [CPP] - New People's Army [NPA] Terrorists) belonging to Squad 2, Front Committee 1, led by a certain Jerry Lutao, alias Nadi,” Maraggun said.

Recovered after the 20-minute firefight with about 10 rebels are two M16A1 rifles and an M14 rifle, personal belongings, and subversive documents with high intelligence value.

A soldier was reportedly wounded during the clash and was taken to the nearest hospital.

Pambujan, a fourth-class town in Northern Samar with a population of more than 35,000 is about 290 km. from Tacloban, the regional capital.

Meanwhile, in the remote village of Bangon, Catbalogan City, Samar, the military has recovered three M16A1 rifles, a hand grenade, three magazine assemblies (30 rounds), three magazine assemblies (20 rounds), and a binocular during a clash with a small group of rebels on July 21.

Troops of the 87th Infantry Battalion responded to the information from concerned citizens regarding the presence of an armed group in the village, extorting food and demanding financial support from the community.

In a statement, Maj. Gen. Camilo Ligayo, commander of the Army’s 8th Infantry Division, lauded the villagers for the timely information given to the troops that led to the success of the internal security operations. (PNA)