A few days after Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte announced that he wanted Maoist rebel leaders arrested after the failed peace talks with the National Democratic Front (NDP), Philippine security forces killed 15 New People's Army (NPA) rebels in separate encounters in the Northern Philippines.
Batangas Police Chief Col. Alden Deylo said that the Air Force combat team received intelligence reports that NPA rebels were spotted in the village of Aya in Nasugbu municipality.
The combat team responded to the call and engaged military soldiers that caused the death of five rebels on the spot while three other NPA rebels were also wounded. Witnesses said the combat team and NPA rebels encounter lasted for twenty minutes.
In another village, government troops and NPA rebels also engaged a firefight in the village of Kaylaway that killed 9 members of the rebel group. According to police authorities, the documented retrieved from the rebels positions revealed that one of those killed was a high ranking commander of the rebel group.
Police investigating the encounter said that those rebels killed were members of the Eduardo Dagle Command known for recruiting young rebels aged 18 to 25. Police also retrieved nine high powered rifles from the rebels' position.
According to security intelligence, the encounter has the biggest number of casualties a few days after Duterte tagged the NPA as a terrorist group. Military officials are expecting another round of encounter in the next few days if NPA rebels refuse to vacate their camp in Kaylaway village.
Military intelligence has been monitoring the movements of the NPA rebels after receiving reports that the rebel group was planning to attack military posts in the area.
Police authorities said that the successful military operation against rebels' plot was attributed to the vigilance of residents who have been providing government information of the NPA's plan to attack government posts.
The police provincial offices vowed to continue mobilizing the communities to continuously provide vital information to the military.