In a phone interview, Col. Philip S. Lapinid, commanding officer of the 24th Infantry Battalion, 7ID of the Philippine Army, said they received an intelligence report that some 60 communist guerillas belonging to the Sangay ng Partido sa Platon (SPP) are holding a “mass indoctrination” and recruitment operation.
He said the 24th IB immediately initiated a hot pursuit operation until firefight erupted at about 9:30 a.m. and lasted about five hours.
The brigade immediately called for reinforcements from other Philippine Army detachments and cornered the rebels.
This is the second reported encounter between the army and rebels this week.
As of press time, the identity of the lone fatality, a member of the communist insurgents, and those of the wounded are still unknown as clearing operations are still being conducted.
“This is the second reported encounter between the army and the rebels this week as the Philippine Army engaged a group of Rebolusyonaryong Hukbong Bayan (RHB) in Barangay San Roque, Candelaria, Zambales. The firefight lasted for 30 minutes but no casualties were reported,” Lapinid said.
Army troops recovered one M-16 armalite riffle, one riffle grenade, one hand grenade and assorted subversive documents.