AT LEAST five high-powered firearms and an unidentified cadaver of the New People's Army (NPA) member were recovered following an encounter between government troops and the rebels at Pasian in Monkayo, Compostela Valley on Saturday.
Lieutenant Colonel Cesar Molina, commander of the Philippine Army's 25th Infantry Battalion, said their troops recovered one M16 rifle, one M14 long firearm, one Garand rifle and an improvised landmine.
"We are yet to identify the cadaver left by the communist rebels after the encounter. As of now, la pang pamilya’ng nagpunta dito to claim him," Molina said in a text message.
He said the dead rebel is now at the barangay hall for a decent burial.
The firearms and the cadaver of a rebel were recovered after their clash around 1 p.m., he added.
He said their troops, along with the Division Reconnaissance Company (DRC), conducted a security patrol on the area after receiving reports from concerned citizens about the presence of armed men when they were fired upon. The encounter lasted around 15 to 30 minutes.
"According to the reports, these armed men were forcing them to join a group conducting a massive action like rallies and demonstrations against the government. After learning the reports, we send a team to conduct a security patrol when they encountered those armed men," Molina said.
"Fortunately, wala namang natamaan sa mga kasamahan namin o nadamay an ibang tao sa ginawa nila. But still we are conducting hot pursuit operation against them," he added.
Colonel Angelito de Leon, commander of the Army's 1001st Brigade, described the incident as a manifestation that the NPAs are taking advantage of the civilian populace that was badly stricken by the Typhoon Pablo.
De Leon said the rebels are now using their force in intimidating people for them to join in the massive action against the government.
He said what the NPAs did know is that their tactics would never prosper as there are still many people who are into the government, like those who reported the pressure made by the armed group.